Graph Sample and Hold: A Framework for Big-Graph Analytics Conference Paper uri icon


  • Sampling is a standard approach in big-graph analytics; the goal is to efficiently estimate the graph properties by consulting a sample of the whole population. A perfect sample is assumed to mirror every property of the whole population. Unfortunately, such a perfect sample is hard to collect in complex populations such as graphs (e.g. web graphs, social networks), where an underlying network connects the units of the population. Therefore, a good sample will be representative in the sense that graph properties of interest can be estimated with a known degree of accuracy. While previous work focused particularly on sampling schemes to estimate certain graph properties (e.g. triangle count), much less is known for the case when we need to estimate various graph properties with the same sampling scheme. In this paper, we pro- pose a generic stream sampling framework for big-graph analytics, called Graph Sample and Hold (gSH), which samples from massive graphs sequentially in a single pass, one edge at a time, while maintaining a small state in memory. We use a Horvitz-Thompson construction in conjunction with a scheme that samples arriving edges without adjacencies to previously sampled edges with probability p and holds edges with adjacencies with probability q. Our sample and hold framework facilitates the accurate estimation of subgraph patterns by enabling the dependence of the sampling process to vary based on previous history. Within our framework, we show how to produce statistically unbiased estimators for various graph properties from the sample. Given that the graph analytics will run on a sample instead of the whole population, the runtime complexity is kept under control. Moreover, given that the estimators are unbiased, the approximation error is also kept under control. Finally, we test the performance of the proposed framework (gSH) on various types of graphs, showing that from a sample with 40K edges, it produces estimates with relative errors < 1%. 2014 ACM.

name of conference

  • Proceedings of the 20th ACM SIGKDD international conference on Knowledge discovery and data mining

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Ahmed, N. K., Duffield, N., Neville, J., & Kompella, R.

citation count

  • 97

complete list of authors

  • Ahmed, Nesreen K||Duffield, Nick||Neville, Jennifer||Kompella, Ramana

publication date

  • August 2014