Relational Approach for Shortest Path Discovery over Large Graphs

Jun Gao, Ruoming Jin, Jiashuai Zhou, Jeffrey Xu Yu, Xiao Jiang, Tengjiao Wang

With the rapid growth of large graphs, we cannot assume that graphs can still be fully loaded into memory, thus the disk-based graph operation is inevitable. In this paper, we take the shortest path discovery as an example to investigate the technique issues when leveraging existing infrastructure of relational database (RDB) in the graph data management. Based on the observation that a variety of graph search queries can be implemented by iterative operations including selecting frontier nodes from visited nodes, making expansion from the selected frontier nodes, and merging the expanded nodes into the visited ones, we introduce a relational FEM framework with three corresponding operators to implement graph search tasks in the RDB context. We show new features such as window function and merge statement introduced by recent SQL standards can not only simplify the expression but also improve the performance of the FEM framework. In addition, we propose two optimization strategies specific to shortest path discovery inside the FEM framework. First, we take a bi-directional set Dijkstra's algorithm in the path finding. The bi-directional strategy can reduce the search space, and set Dijkstra's algorithm finds the shortest path in a set-at-a-time fashion. Second, we introduce an index named SegTable to preserve the local shortest segments, and exploit SegTable to further improve the performance. The final extensive experimental results illustrate our relational approach with the optimization strategies achieves high scalability and performance.

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