Abstract. How can we succinctly describe a million-node graph with a few simple sentences? How can we measure the `importance' of a set of discovered subgraphs in a large graph? These are exactly the problems we focus on. Our main ideas are to construct a `vocabulary' of subgraph-types that often occur in real graphs (e.g., stars, cliques, chains), and from a set of subgraphs, find the most succinct description of a graph in terms of this vocabulary. We measure success in a well-founded way by means of the Minimum Description Length (MDL) principle: a subgraph is included in the summary if it decreases the total description length of the graph.
Our contributions are three-fold: (a) formulation: we provide a principled encoding scheme to choose vocabulary subgraphs; (b) algorithm: we develop VoG, an efficient method to minimize the description cost, and (c) applicability: we report experimental results on multi-million-edge real graphs, including Flickr and the Notre Dame web graph.