The ability for a graph to denote objects and their relationships to one another allow for a surprisingly large number of things to be modeled as a graph. From the dependencies that link software packages to the wood beams that provide the framing to a house, most anything has a corresponding graph representation. However, just because it is possible to represent something as a graph does not nec- essarily mean that its graph representation will be useful. If a modeler can leverage the plethora of tools and algorithms that store and process graphs, then such a mapping is worthwhile. This article explores the world of graphs in computing and exposes situations in which graphical models are beneficial.
Many practical computing problems concern large graphs. Standard examples include the Web graph and various social networks. The scale of these graphs - in some cases billions of vertices, trillions of edges - poses challenges to their efficient processing. In this paper we present a computational model suitable for this task. Programs are expressed as a sequence of iterations, in each of which a vertex can receive messages sent in the previous iteration, send messages to other vertices, and modify its own state and that of its outgoing edges or mutate graph topology. This vertex-centric approach is flexible enough to express a broad set of algorithms. The model has been designed for efficient, scalable and fault-tolerant implementation on clusters of thousands of commodity computers, and its implied synchronicity makes reasoning about programs easier. Distribution-related details are hidden behind an abstract API. The result is a framework for processing large graphs that is expressive and easy to program.
Now is time to read them and think about the interesting problem of scaling graph databases.