Consistent Subset Sampling

Konstantin Kutzkov, Rasmus Pagh

Consistent sampling is a technique for specifying, in small space, a subset $S$ of a potentially large universe $U$ such that the elements in $S$ satisfy a suitably chosen sampling condition. Given a subset $\mathcal{I}\subseteq U$ it should be possible to quickly compute $\mathcal{I}\cap S$, i.e., the elements in $\mathcal{I}$ satisfying the sampling condition. Consistent sampling has important applications in similarity estimation, and estimation of the number of distinct items in a data stream. In this paper we generalize consistent sampling to the setting where we are interested in sampling size-$k$ subsets occurring in some set in a collection of sets of bounded size $b$, where $k$ is a small integer. This can be done by applying standard consistent sampling to the $k$-subsets of each set, but that approach requires time $\Theta(b^k)$. Using a carefully designed hash function, for a given sampling probability $p \in (0,1]$, we show how to improve the time complexity to $\Theta(b^{\lceil k/2\rceil}\log \log b + pb^k)$ in expectation, while maintaining strong concentration bounds for the sample. The space usage of our method is $\Theta(b^{\lceil k/4\rceil})$. We demonstrate the utility of our technique by applying it to several well-studied data mining problems. We show how to efficiently estimate the number of frequent $k$-itemsets in a stream of transactions and the number of bipartite cliques in a graph given as incidence stream. Further, building upon a recent work by Campagna et al., we show that our approach can be applied to frequent itemset mining in a parallel or distributed setting. We also present applications in graph stream mining.

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