Computer Science Department
School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University


Large-scale Graph Computation on Just a PC

Aapo Kyrölä

May 2014

Ph.D. Thesis


Keywords: Graph computation, graph algorithms, external memory algorithms, graph databases, database management systems, recommender systems

Current systems for graph computation require a distributed computing cluster to handle very large real-world problems, such as analysis on social networks or the web graph. While distributed computational resources have become more accessible, developing distributed graph algorithms still remains challenging, especially to non-experts.

In this work, we present GraphChi, a disk-based system for computing efficiently on graphs with billions of edges. By using a well-known method to break large graphs into small parts, and a novel Parallel Sliding Windows algorithm, GraphChi is able to execute several advanced data mining, graph mining and machine learning algorithms on very large graphs, using just a single consumer-level computer. We show, through experiments and theoretical analysis, that GraphChi performs well on both SSDs and rotational hard drives.

We build on the basis of Parallel Sliding Windows to propose a new data structure, Partitioned Adjacency Lists, which we use to design an online graph database, GraphChi-DB.We demonstrate that, on a single PC, GraphChi-DB can process over one hundred thousand graph updates per second, while simultaneously performing computation. GraphChi-DB compares favorably to existing graph databases, particularly on data that is much larger than the available memory.

We evaluate our work both experimentally and theoretically. Based on the Parallel Sliding Windows algorithm, we propose new I/O efficient algorithms for solving fundamental graph problems. We also propose a novel algorithm for simulating billions of random walks in parallel on a single computer.

By repeating experiments reported for existing distributed systems we show that, with only fraction of the resources, GraphChi can solve the same problems in a very reasonable time. Our work makes large-scale graph computation available to anyone with a modern PC.

167 pages

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