Graph compression

The compression process is a pipeline implemented for the most part on top of the WebGraph framework and ecosystem libraries. The compression pipeline consists of the following steps:

Compression steps

Compression steps

Each of these steps is briefly described below. For more details see the following paper:


Paolo Boldi, Antoine Pietri, Sebastiano Vigna, Stefano Zacchiroli. Ultra-Large-Scale Repository Analysis via Graph Compression. In proceedings of SANER 2020: The 27th IEEE International Conference on Software Analysis, Evolution and Reengineering. IEEE 2020.

Links: preprint, bibtex.

In order to practically perform graph compression, install the swh.graph module and use the swh graph compress command line interface of the compression driver, that will conduct the various steps in the right order. See swh graph compress --help for usage details.

1. MPH

A node in the Software Heritage data model is identified using its SWHID (see persistent identifiers). However, WebGraph internally uses integers to refer to node ids.

Mapping between the strings and longs ids is needed before compressing the graph. From the Sux4J utility tool, we use the GOVMinimalPerfectHashFunction class, mapping with no collisions N keys to N consecutive integers.

The step produces a .mph file (MPH stands for Minimal Perfect Hash-function) storing the hash function taking as input a string and returning a unique integer.

2. BV compress

This is the first actual compression step, building a compressed version of the input graph using WebGraph techniques presented in the framework paper. We use the ScatteredArcsASCIIGraph class, from WebGraph.

The resulting BV graph is stored as a set of files:

  • .graph: the compressed graph in the BV format

  • .offsets: offsets values to read the bit stream graph file

  • .obl: offsets cache to load the graph faster

  • .properties: entries used to correctly decode graph and offset files

3. BFS

In the LLP paper, authors propose an empirical analysis linking node ordering and high compression ratio: it is important to use an ordering of nodes ids such that vertices from the same host are close to one another.

Building on this insight, the previous compression results in the BV compress step are improved by re-ordering nodes ids using a BFS traversal order. We use the BFS class from the LAW library.

The resulting ordering is stored in the .order file, listing nodes ids in order of traversal.

4. Permute

Once the order is computed (BFS or another ordering technique), the final compressed graph is created based on the initial BV compress result, and using the new node order mapping. The permutation uses the Transform class from WebGraph framework.

The final compressed graph is only stored in the resulting .graph, .offsets, .obl, and .properties files.

5. Stats

Compute various statistics on the final compressed graph:

  • .stats: entries such as number of nodes, edges, avg/min/max degree, average locality, etc.

  • .indegree: graph indegree distribution

  • .outdegree: graph outdegree distribution

This step uses the Stats class from WebGraph.

6. Transpose

Create a transposed graph to allow backward traversal, using the Transform class from WebGraph.