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Counting Butterflies in Fully Dynamic Bipartite Graph Streams

Serafeim Papadias
Zoi Kaoudi
Varun Pandey
Jorge-Arnulfo Quiane-Ruiz
Volker Markl

December 06, 2023

A bipartite graph extensively models relationships between real-world entities of two different types, such as user-product data in e-commerce. Such graph data are inherently becoming more and more streaming, entailing continuous insertions and deletions of edges. A butterfly (i.e., 2x2 bi-clique) is the smallest non-trivial cohesive structure that plays a crucial role. Counting such butterfly patterns in streaming bipartite graphs is a core problem in applications such as dense subgraph discovery and anomaly detection. Yet, existing approximate solutions consider insert-only streams and, thus, achieve very low accuracy in fully dynamic bipartite graph streams that involve both insertions and deletions of edges. Adapting them to consider deletions is not trivial either, because different sampling schemes and new accuracy analyses are required. In this paper, we propose Abacus, a novel approximate algorithm that counts butterflies in the presence of both insertions and deletions by utilizing sampling. We prove that Abacus always delivers unbiased estimates of low variance. Furthermore, we extend Abacus and devise a parallel mini-batch variant, namely, Parabacus, which counts butterflies in parallel. Parabacus counts butterflies in a load-balanced manner using versioned samples, which results in significant speedup and is thus ideal for critical applications in the streaming environment. We evaluate Abacus/Parabacus using a diverse set of real bipartite graphs and assess its performance in terms of accuracy, throughput, and speedup. The results indicate that our proposal is the first capable of efficiently providing accurate butterfly counts in the most generic setting, i.e., a fully dynamic graph streaming environment that entails both insertions and deletions. It does so without sacrificing throughput and even improving it with the parallel version.