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LDBC project

From: Josep Lluís Larriba Pey <larri@ac.upc.edu>
Date: Tue, 27 Nov 2012 16:56:23 +0100
Message-ID: <50B4E2A7.6060302@ac.upc.edu>
To: semantic-web@w3.org
Dear all,

I would like to announce the LDBC EU project (www.ldbc.eu), which 
recently started, and explain its mission. We noted that a discussion
touching on this project was opened recently on this list by someone not 
involved in it, so I thought it would be a good idea to describe the 
overall picture of this project.

The mission of the LDBC can be compared to that of the Transaction 
Processing Council (TPC) that Jim Gray founded in the area of relational 
database technology (www.tpc.org). LDBC will create a body in which 
vendors of RDF and graph database systems agree on relevant benchmarks 
and benchmark practices; and will publish official benchmark results. 
The objective of the project is to highlight the functional and 
performance characteristics of Graph and RDF systems, viz-a-viz each 
other and established relational data management technology. The 
motivation for this is to help IT practitioners understand and select 
Graph and RDF data management products, and thus, help make the emerging 
Graph and RDF data management industry more mature. Additionally, we 
hope that LDBC will spur competition and thereby accelerate technical 
progress.

In detail:
* “agreeing on benchmark practices” means agreeing on the exact rules 
and metrics with which products can be compared. Without such rules, 
which include having benchmark results checked by independent auditors, 
it is very easy to skew any benchmark result in one’s favor; e.g. by 
precomputing (partial) answers; by implementing benchmark-special 
functionalities, by being not open about hot or cold runs; by comparing 
results on wholly different hardware (with wholly different price-tags). 
There are many ways in which one can game a result.

* “agreeing on metrics” is important as, without balanced metrics, it is 
easy to pick the benchmark observations or statistics that favor one 
algorithm/system/product (conveniently forgetting about other metrics 
relevant for the benchmark on which the performance maybe favorable — 
often systems must make trade-offs, so a win on one metric can become a 
loss on another; see e.g. the difference between OLTP and OLAP 
workloads). This will include a notion of score-per-EURO (or $), taking 
into account hardware+software+maintenance cost aspects in the results.

These points underline the industrial nature of the project, since such 
elements are not usually present in academic benchmark work. The 
industry participation in LDBC include Ontotext, Openlink and Neo 
Technologies (neo4j), which are European industrial leaders in this 
emerging technological space. The council itself is international, so 
other companies will be able to join the non-profit body of LDBC as 
well. More than ten such companies have approached LDBC already: 
effectively the great majority of RDF and Graph database companies are 
interested. We expect the council to start growing by March 2013, when a 
non-profit legal entity for it will have been formed; and membership 
will become formally possible.

The LDBC EU project has also a research participation in the form of UPC 
Barcelona, VUA Amsterdam, Technical University Munich, FORTH and STI
Innsbruck. The research task is to kick-start the LDBC by helping in 
selecting/defining an initial set of benchmarks. Even though in RDF and
graph databases there already exist benchmarks, aspects like cost 
metrics, rules for running the benchmark, and benchmark audits are 
generally underdeveloped; so LDBC here will extend existing benchmark 
components were possible and create new ones where necessary. The 
academic partners have been selected to include groups that have 
technical expertise in data management (e.g. RDF-3X -- Munich; MonetDB, 
VectorWise - Amsterdam, Sparsity - Barcelona) so benchmarks will stress 
systems in relevant areas "where it hurts" in order to maximize the 
potential for progress.

In order to ensure that benchmarks represent usage scenarios that matter 
for technology users, LDBC has a Technical User Community (TUC). This 
TUC had its first meeting last week November 19/20 in Barcelona, that 
was well attended and quite productive. A digital record is found on: 
ldbc.eu:8090/display/TUC/First+TUC+meeting+Nov+2012

We see it as a sign of relevance for LDBC that these users spent two 
days to talk in-depth about their technical challenges with Graph and 
RDF software, multiple of them flying in from the US (on their own 
cost). The TUC includes participants from the publishing, life sciences, 
security and marketing domains. The outcomes of the first TUC meeting 
have been used to determine the direction in establishing the first LDBC 
benchmark task forces; and the TUC will remain continuously involved in 
providing information on relevant datasets and workloads, and feedback 
to benchmark specifications as they evolve.

In case this description got you interested, and specifically if you are 
a user of RDF, graph or relational technology, we would like to invite 
you take a short survey: http://goo.gl/PwGtK

More about the project, its activities and its benchmarks in the future 
are found on: www.ldbc.eu. We are also on twitter @LDBCproject.
You can contact me via: larri "at" ac.upc.edu

Yours,
Josep Lluis Larriba Pey
LDBC coordinator
Received on Wednesday, 28 November 2012 12:55:08 GMT

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