Departmental Papers (CIS)

Date of this Version


Document Type

Conference Paper


Edited version of paper published as:
Kook Jin Ahn, Sudipto Guha, and Andrew McGregor. 2012. Analyzing graph structure via linear measurements. In Proceedings of the Twenty-Third Annual ACM-SIAM Symposium on Discrete Algorithms (SODA '12). SIAM 459-467. Persistent Link:

SIAM © 2012


We initiate the study of graph sketching, i.e., algorithms that use a limited number of linear measurements of a graph to determine the properties of the graph. While a graph on n nodes is essentially O(n2)-dimensional, we show the existence of a distribution over random projections into d-dimensional "sketch" space (d « n2) such that several relevant properties of the original graph can be inferred from the sketch with high probability. Specifically, we show that:

  1. d=O(n · polylog n) suffices to evaluate properties including connectivity, k-connectivity, bipartiteness, and to return any constant approximation of the weight of the minimum spanning tree.
  2. d=O(n1+γ) suffices to compute graph sparsifiers, the exact MST, and approximate the maximum weighted matchings if we permit O(1/γ)-round adaptive sketches, i.e., a sequence of projections where each projection may be chosen dependent on the outcome of earlier sketches.

Our results have two main applications, both of which have the potential to give rise to fruitful lines of further research. First, our results can be thought of as giving the first compressed-sensing style algorithms for graph data. Secondly, our work initiates the study of dynamic graph streams. There is already extensive literature on processing massive graphs in the data-stream model. However, the existing work focuses on graphs defined by a sequence of inserted edges and does not consider edge deletions.We think this is a curious omission given the existing work on both dynamic graphs in the non-streaming setting and dynamic geometric streaming. Our results include the first dynamic graph semi-streaming algorithms for connectivity, spanning trees, sparsification, and matching problems.


Data Streams, Sketching



Date Posted: 09 March 2012

This document has been peer reviewed.