Monday, February 25, 2013

Neo4j at Waza SF 2013

Hey all,

We are excited to be sponsoring Heroku’s Waza 2013. Michael Hunger, Pernilla Lindh and I will be at the Neo4j lounge with our amazing zen sand coffee table, along with showcasing the Waza-Twitter graph.
Go to this page for how you can participate with Neo4j at Waza.

Heroku and Neo4j have been friends for a long time, with Neo4j provided as a Heroku add-on. We also ran several joint meetups and hackathons in the past and worked together on a Heroku based coding challenge.

We are really happy to be part of Heroku’s Waza, after Heroku supporting last year’s GraphConnect SF.

The Neo4j team will be showing the power of graph databases, by visualizing the implicit connections between people who tweet about heroku and waza. These inferred connections are becoming more relevant within all kinds of social network related products, highlighting not the direct follower relationship, but the connections through mentions, retweets and shared hashtags.

The Waza twitter graph will be shown on various monitors throughout the venue. As a passer-by, you’ll be able to see highlighted conversations tweeted by Waza attendees in real-time. If you want to interact with the Waza graph, you can stop by the Neo4j lounge and see who you know is at the conference, who has also tweeted about the things as you, or what people like the most about the event. Each hashtag and person will be represented with a picture, which will prove to be a fun way to visualize Waza as a graph.
Our contribution to Waza is a perfect reflection of what we embody at Neo4j: value in relationships. Graph databases focus on how you connect with technology, people, common interests, while showing you how this information is relevant in ways you wouldn’t expect. Not only that, but graph databases like Neo4j can easily integrate with whatever project, event or person you are part of.

We seeded the Waza graph with speakers, sponsors and Herokai. From there, any Waza attendee who tweets about the event will be brought into the Waza Twitter Graph.

We will also be presenting the interactive Zen coffee table at our booth. Stop by, and draw or program something on our app, to see it drawn in the sand on the zen table. Cool stuff.

Can’t wait to see you all there, and huge shout out to Michael Hunger and Max de Marzi for these 

sweet apps!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The state of LDBC Jan 2013

Hi all!

A few months ago we announced that Neo Technology (Neo) had joined the Linked Data Benchmark Council (LDBC), a three-year EU-funded research project aimed at creating a comprehensive suite of performance benchmarks for graph databases. The goal of the LDBC is to encourage the advancement of graph database technologies, by providing both academia and industry with clear targets for performance and functionality. In addition, an important project outcome will be the creation of an independent authority responsible for the auditing and verification of benchmark results. For a detailed introduction of the LDBC, please refer to our original blog post.

Since that announcement kicked off our involvement in the LDBC project late last year, a lot has happened!
To keep everyone up to date, we've summarized the most important events here.

Technical User Community meeting

The first LDBC Technical User Community (TUC) meeting was held in Barcelona during late November, 2012.

The meeting ran for two days, including presentations from more than 10 academic and commercial users of graph/RDF databases, including:
Connected Discovery (Open Phacts), BBC, Yale University, Press Association, R.J. Lee Group, Elsevier, St Judes Medical, ACCESO Group, Media Planning Group, CA Technologies, Actify, Bio4J, and Innoquant. Users presented their use-cases and described the limitations they encounter in current technologies. Finally, brainstorming sessions were held to identify important choke-points in today's databases.

In terms of publicizing LDBC, gaining insight into data and usage patterns, and most of all forming close ties with database users, this first meeting was very successful. A huge thanks to all that attended!

The second TUC meeting will be held on 22nd-23rd of April in Munich, hosted by the Technical University of Munich. Details of the event will be published in the very near future.

Next, Neo is happy to announce that we will host the third TUC meeting, scheduled for the second half of this year. We're now finalizing date and location details, and will publicize the event as soon as we have. However, if you already have a graph data management use-case that you wish to present at the next TUC meeting, please don't hesitate to contact me, Alex Averbuch (

The more our users are involved in the benchmark design process, the more meaningful and relevant the benchmarks will be!


Just last week Peter Neubauer gave a talk at FOSDEM entitled "The Linked Data Benchmark Council", where he gave an introduction to the LDBC project and its goals, and highlighted Neo's involvement in it.

Upcoming GRADES workshop

The next LDBC-related event is the GRADES (Graph Data-management Experiences & Systems) workshop - intended as a meeting place for all graph data management practitioners, vendors of graph data management systems as well as users of those systems.
The workshop will run at this year's ACM SIGMOD conference, is being co-sponsored by the LDBC, and will be co-chaired by two senior LDBC members: Thomas Neumann (TUM) and Peter Boncz (CWI).

Scheduled for Sunday, June 23 in New York, GRADES will aim to encourage discussion about the management of large-scale graph-shaped data, such as application areas and the challenges those applications face today. Experiences including use-case descriptions, system descriptions, war stories, and benchmarks are all important ingredients of the meeting.

If this sounds like something you would like to participate in, we invite you to attend! Attendees will get the opportunity to meet the database research community, who will be presenting at the annual SIGMOD/PODS conference that kicks off that same evening.

In addition, attendees may contribute to GRADES by co-authoring a short paper on applying graph data management technology to real-life applications: life science analytics, social network marketing, digital forensics, telecommunication network analysis, digital publishing, or anything else related to graph data management.
If you have such experiences to share, or simply want more information, please contact me, Alex Averbuch (

General registration info can be found here, and the call for papers here.

Benchmark Task Force

Another, important and exciting, aspect of the LDBC project that Neo is contributing to is benchmark design. Using experience gained from developing Neo4j, and from the continued feedback provided by Neo4j community members, we are helping shape the first LDBC graph database benchmark.

Together with LDBC partners such as OpenLink, Polytechnic University of Catalonia, and the University of Amsterdam, we have started design of a graph database benchmark based on the social network use-case.

As inspiration, we have been evaluating two technologies in particular: the Social Network Intelligence Benchmark (SIB) and the S3G2 Structure-Correlated Social Graph Generator.

It's crucial that the datasets we use in benchmarks are representative of real datasets, those used in real production systems. At the same time, due to privacy concerns, finding real datasets that can be made publicly available is often impossible. This is what makes data generation technologies like S3G2 so valuable.

The S3G2 graph generator creates synthetic social graphs, and is intended as a testbed for scalable graph analysis algorithms and graph database systems. It generates social graphs with similar structural characteristics to those of real social networks, and makes it possible to quickly generated such graphs at huge sizes.

The other technology, SIB, is a very advanced RDF benchmark. SIB provides a set of SPARQL queries mimicking typical access patterns in a social network. These queries are very interesting, and will likely form the basis of the first LDBC graph database benchmark. However, due to limitations in SPARQL, they alone do not sufficiently test the performance of modern graph databases like Neo4j, which are designed to run complex analytic graph queries not expressible in SPARQL. As such, we are in the process of extending SIB, adding queries that better target the workloads of graph databases. Below a first version of the original version of the schema.

Though this work is ongoing and a lot of work remains before we have a complete benchmark, it's exciting to see the data model and queries beginning to take shape!

Tune in next time

Last but not least, Neo and the LDBC consortium would like to thank all those that have already contributed to this effort in one way or another, and invite anyone else that wishes to get involved!
There’s a lot more work to do and much is planned for the coming year. We'll keep you updated as progress continues!

/Alex Averbuch


Peter Neubauer had a talk about the state of LDBC at FOSDEM 2013:

LDBC Presentation at FOSDEM 2013 from Peter Neubauer on Vimeo.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Neo4j Tutorials - Around the World

Hey all,

We have a special blog post written by our wonderful Neo4j community contributor Peter Bell. He has presented Neo4j in many settings, including recently at our Neo4j Tutorial - NYC. Below are his reflections on the seminar and Neo4j:

I've always been excited by the capacity of graph databases to provide deeper insights into data, but when the Neo Technology team asked me to work with them to create a one day training class I was surprised by just how far the project has come over the last few months.

Not that long ago, you needed to be a Java programmer with a perverse love of writing "traversal descriptions" to take advantage of the power of Neo4j. Now with Cypher, after only a short learning period you can write simple, declarative queries to traverse your graphs and gain more insight into your data.

At first, Cypher looks weird; it's as if a cartoonist decided to describe graphs using ASCII-art. But once you get over the logical but unusual syntax, it's an incredibly powerful way to work with graphs. It allows you to write short, declarative descriptions of what you want to retrieve from the graph. Cypher is like SQL for graphs, and if you haven't played with it, you should definitely learn the basics.

It never used to be hard to figure out the use cases for a graph database, but now more companies have started to solve real world problems, including recommendation systems, route planning, access control and bioinfomatics. We're getting more and more case studies everyday showing just how widely applicable graph databases can be.

The class itself was a lot of fun. There were developers with a wide range of backgrounds from C++ to PHP, Ruby, Python and Java – luckily you don't need to be a Java programmer any more to work with Neo4j! We started off with a brief introduction to graph databases and the rise of their importance in projects like Facebook's new Graph search and Google and Twitter's graph based initiatives. We then looked at some of the common data modeling issues people run into when trying to first model data using a graph and after we covered those high points, we looked at importing data. After lunch, most of the afternoon was spent learning Cypher hands-on to show how easy it is to create, modify and query graphs using cypher's syntax. Once we were done with the materials it was time for questions and we were able to cover a wide range of common questions that we'll be building into the next version of the tutorial.

The goal of this one-day tutorial was to take people with some interest in graph databases to the point where they would be comfortable building a non-mission critical app using Neo4j. Happily by the end of the day, everyone felt confident that they were now in a position to go build an app using neo4j.

If you'd also like to learn how to really get started with Neo4j, you should check out the upcoming tutorial series.

Thanks Peter for the kind words! We're coordinating more Neo4j Tutorials all around the world; to find a tutorial near you, check out this map.

Don't see a city near you? Let us know where you would like to see future tutorials!

Cheers Adam

Sunday, February 3, 2013

FOSDEM 2013 summary

Hi all,

Michael and I have been on a great BeNeLux tour starting with a Meetup in Delft and another one in Antwerp with the big finale in Brussels for FOSDEM, one of the worlds geekiest unconferences. We talked at the GraphDevroom. Here some observations:

We really enjoyed the interactions with the community members at the meetups, with really interesting topics ranging from our plans for 2013 - ease of use and bigger data via Neo4j import via hadoop, a large visualisation roundup, use-cases like impact analysis in SOA architectures and Neo4j spatial.

Thanks a lot to Rik van Bruggen for organizing everything and making it a pleasant stay, and of course for taking care of the beer graph.

FOSDEM is a truly fantastic conference. Geeks only, no fluff anywhere, atmosphere like a morning standup with 5000 developer friends, even during your talk.

Of around 10 talks, 5 were directly about usage of Neo4j, others referred to Neo4j which felt really good for us. The GraphDevRoom was full the whole day, with 80-100 people listening.

The best quote by Heinrich Hartmann: "We propose a new graph interchange format - zipped Neo4j database directories. :)"

We also learned a lot about things that people miss in Neo4j, mostly import/export, OLAP support and problems with dense nodes. Remoting and cypher performance are other topics that are brought up. Fortunately we’re working on most of those themes in 2013.

Some interesting projects that are Neo4j related:

A big thanks to Pere Urbon, Achim Friedland, Sebastien Heyman and Claudio Martella for the organization of the event.

We had a great time and are happy that we met so many of you even if there was little time to talk in depth. Hope to see everyone again soon.

/peter and michael