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How graph databases work


Article from ADMIN 58/2020
Graph databases excel at revealing the relationships among different but related sets of data.

Typical relational databases map relations indirectly by means of joins, whereas graph databases map the same relations directly. One example of the use of a graph database involves the so-called Panama Papers. Tax fraud, money laundering, breaches of sanctions, and a number of other criminal offenses were levied against clients of the Panamanian offshore service provider Mossack Fonseca. In 2016, journalists associated with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) from 107 newspapers, television stations, and online media in 80 countries uncovered the crimes by jointly analyzing some 11.5 million leaked email messages, database entries, letters, fax documents, deeds of incorporation, loan agreements, bills, and bank statements with the help of a graph database.


Alice likes Bob who follows Carol and Dave on Twitter. Streetcar line 15 runs from Max-Weber-Platz via Giesing to Gr¸nwald. Mr. Huber is the superior of Mr. Meyer and Mrs. Schulze. Theresa liked the video that Mike recommended. Vehicle is the generic term for car, motorcycle, and truck. Modern man is related to early hominids and other species of great apes.

All these statements have one thing in common: They are about relations – about connections between people or things for which you could intuitively sketch something tree-like on a piece of paper. Such relationships are becoming more important in a world that is becoming increasingly networked, where everything is connected with everyone.

It is certainly no coincidence that relations are at the heart of the business ideas of corporations that are now among the most valuable and powerful in the world – Facebook and Google, for example. In the first case, it's about relationships between people who know each other; in the second, it's about relationships between websites that link to each other. The often-quoted page ranking is the

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