# Processing super vertices¶

## Principle introduction¶

In graph theory, a super vertex, also known as a dense vertex, is a vertex with an extremely high number of adjacent edges. The edges can be outgoing or incoming.

Super vertices are very common because of the power-law distribution. For example, popular leaders in social networks (Internet celebrities), hot stocks in the stock market, four major banks in the banking system, hubs in transportation networks, high-traffic websites on the Internet, and on-fire products in E-commerce networks.

In Nebula Graph, a vertex and its properties form a key-value pair, with the ID of the vertex and other meta information as the key. Its outgoing edges are stored with it in the same partition in the form of different key-value pairs, and they are stored in LSM-trees in hard disks and caches.

Therefore, directed traversals from this vertex and directed traversals ending at this vertex both involve either a large number of sequential IO scans (ideally, after compaction) or a large number of random IO (frequent writes to the vertex and its ingoing and outgoing edges).

As a rule of thumb, a vertex is considered dense when the number of its edges exceeds 10,000. Some special cases require additional consideration。

### Indexes for duplicate properties¶

In a property graph, there is another class of cases similar to super vertices: a property has a very high duplication rate, i.e., many vertices with the same Tag but different VIDs have identical property and property values.

Property indexes in Nebula Graph are designed to reuse the functionality of RocksDB in the Storage Service, in which case indexes are modeled as keys with the same prefix. If the lookup of a property fails to hit the cache, it is processed as a random seek and a sequential prefix scan on the hard disk to find the corresponding VID. After that, the graph is usually traversed from this vertex, so that another random read and sequential scan for the corresponding key-value of this vertex will be triggered. The higher the duplication rate, the larger the scan range.

Usually, special design and processing are required when the number of duplicate property values exceeds 10,000.

### Suggested solutions¶

#### Solutions at the database end¶

1. Truncation: Only return a certain number (a threshold) of edges, and do not return other edges exceeding this threshold.
2. Compact: Reorganize the order of data in RocksDB to reduce random reads and increase sequential reads.

#### Solutions at the application end¶

Break up some of the super vertices according to their business significance:

• Delete multiple edges and merge them into one.

For example, A transfer scenario is (Account_A)-[TRANSFER]->(Account_B). Each transfer record is modeled as an edge between account A and account B, then there may be tens of thousands of transfer records.

In such scenarios, merge obsolete transfer details on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. That is, batch-delete old edges and replace them with a small number of edges representing monthly total and times. And keep the transfer details of the latest month.

• Split an edge into multiple edges of different types.

For example, in the (Airport)<-[DEPART]-(Flight) scenario, the departure of each flight is modeled as an edge between a flight and an airport. Departures from a big airport might be enormous.

According to different airlines, divide the DEPART Edge type into finer Edge types, such as DEPART_CEAIR, DEPART_CSAIR, etc. Specify the departing airline in queries (graph traversal).

• Split vertices.

For example, for the loan network of (person)-[BORROW]->(bank), large bank A will have a very large number of loans and borrowers.

In such scenarios, you can split the large vertex A into connected sub-vertices A1, A2, and A3.

(Person1)-[BORROW]->(BankA1), (Person2)-[BORROW]->(BankA2), (Person2)-[BORROW]->(BankA3);
(BankA1)-[BELONGS_TO]->(BankA), (BankA2)-[BELONGS_TO]->(BankA), (BankA3)-[BELONGS_TO]->(BankA).


A1, A2, and A3 can either be three real branches of bank A, such as Beijing branch, Shanghai branch, and Zhejiang branch, or three virtual branches set up according to certain rules, such as A1: 1-1000, A2: 1001-10000 and A3: 10000+ according to the number of loans. In this way, any operation on A is converted into three separate operations on A1, A2, and A3.

Last update: September 2, 2021