Panther: Fast top-k similarity search on large networks

Jing Zhang, Jie Tang, Cong Ma, Hanghang Tong, Yu Jing, Juanzi Li

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

39 Scopus citations


Estimating similarity between vertices is a fundamental issue in network analysis across various domains, such as social networks and biological networks. Methods based on common neighbors and structural contexts have received much attention. However, both categories of methods are difficult to scale up to handle large networks (with billions of nodes). In this paper, we propose a sampling method that provably and accurately estimates the similarity between vertices. The algorithm is based on a novel idea of random path. Specifically, given a network, we perform R random walks, each starting from a randomly picked vertex and walking T steps. Theoretically, the algorithm guarantees that the sampling size R = 0(2ε-2 log2 T) depends on the error-bound ε, the confidence level (1 - δ), and the path length T of each random walk. We perform extensive empirical study on a Tencent microblogging network of 1,000,000,000 edges. We show that our algorithm can return top-k similar vertices for any vertex in a network 300x faster than the state-of-the-art methods. We also use two applications-identity resolution and structural hole spanner finding-to evaluate the accuracy of the estimated similarities. Our results demonstrate that the proposed algorithm achieves clearly better performance than several alternative methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationKDD 2015 - Proceedings of the 21st ACM SIGKDD Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781450336642
StatePublished - Aug 10 2015
Event21st ACM SIGKDD Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining, KDD 2015 - Sydney, Australia
Duration: Aug 10 2015Aug 13 2015

Publication series

NameProceedings of the ACM SIGKDD International Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining


Conference21st ACM SIGKDD Conference on Knowledge Discovery and Data Mining, KDD 2015


  • Random path
  • Social network
  • Vertex similarity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Information Systems


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