I need to calculate the depth of a descendant from it’s ancestor. When a record has
object_id = parent_id = ancestor_id, it is considered a root node (the ancestor). I have been trying to get a
WITH RECURSIVE query running with PostgreSQL 9.4.
I do not control the data or the columns. The data and table schema comes from an external source. The table is growing continuously. Right now by about 30k records per day. Any node in the tree can be missing and they will be pulled from an external source at some point. They are usually pulled in
created_at DESC order but the data is pulled with asynchronous background jobs.
We initially had a code solution to this problem, but now having 5M+ rows, it takes almost 30 minutes to complete.
Example table definition and test data:
CREATE TABLE objects ( id serial NOT NULL PRIMARY KEY, customer_id integer NOT NULL, object_id integer NOT NULL, parent_id integer, ancestor_id integer, generation integer NOT NULL DEFAULT 0 ); INSERT INTO objects(id, customer_id , object_id, parent_id, ancestor_id, generation) VALUES (2, 1, 2, 1, 1, -1), --no parent yet (3, 2, 3, 3, 3, -1), --root node (4, 2, 4, 3, 3, -1), --depth 1 (5, 2, 5, 4, 3, -1), --depth 2 (6, 2, 6, 5, 3, -1), --depth 3 (7, 1, 7, 7, 7, -1), --root node (8, 1, 8, 7, 7, -1), --depth 1 (9, 1, 9, 8, 7, -1); --depth 2
object_id is not unique, but the combination
(customer_id, object_id) is unique.
Running a query like this:
WITH RECURSIVE descendants(id, customer_id, object_id, parent_id, ancestor_id, depth) AS ( SELECT id, customer_id, object_id, parent_id, ancestor_id, 0 FROM objects WHERE object_id = parent_id UNION SELECT o.id, o.customer_id, o.object_id, o.parent_id, o.ancestor_id, d.depth + 1 FROM objects o INNER JOIN descendants d ON d.parent_id = o.object_id WHERE d.id <> o.id AND d.customer_id = o.customer_id ) SELECT * FROM descendants d;
I would like the
generation column to be set as the depth that was calculated. When a new record is added, the generation column is set as -1. There are some cases where a
parent_id may not have been pulled yet. If the
parent_id does not exist, it should leave the generation column set to -1.
The final data should look like:
id | customer_id | object_id | parent_id | ancestor_id | generation 2 1 2 1 1 -1 3 2 3 3 3 0 4 2 4 3 3 1 5 2 5 4 3 2 6 2 6 5 3 3 7 1 7 7 7 0 8 1 8 7 7 1 9 1 9 8 7 2
The result of the query should be to update the generation column to the correct depth.
I started working from the answers to this related question on SO.
The query you have is basically correct. The only mistake is in the second (recursive) part of the CTE where you have:
INNER JOIN descendants d ON d.parent_id = o.object_id
It should be the other way around:
INNER JOIN descendants d ON d.object_id = o.parent_id
You want to join the objects with their parents (that have already been found).
So the query that calculates depth can be written (nothing else changed, only formatting):
-- calculate generation / depth, no updates WITH RECURSIVE descendants (id, customer_id, object_id, parent_id, ancestor_id, depth) AS AS ( SELECT id, customer_id, object_id, parent_id, ancestor_id, 0 FROM objects WHERE object_id = parent_id UNION ALL SELECT o.id, o.customer_id, o.object_id, o.parent_id, o.ancestor_id, d.depth + 1 FROM objects o INNER JOIN descendants d ON d.customer_id = o.customer_id AND d.object_id = o.parent_id WHERE d.id <> o.id ) SELECT * FROM descendants d ORDER BY id ;
For the update, you simply replace the last
SELECT, with the
UPDATE, joining the result of the cte, back to the table:
-- update nodes WITH RECURSIVE descendants -- nothing changes here except -- ancestor_id and parent_id -- which can be omitted form the select lists ) UPDATE objects o SET generation = d.depth FROM descendants d WHERE o.id = d.id AND o.generation = -1 ; -- skip unnecessary updates
Tested on SQLfiddle
parent_idare not needed to be in the select list (ancestor is obvious, parent a bit tricky to figure out why), so you can keep them in the
SELECTquery if you want but you can safely remove them from the
(customer_id, object_id)seems like a candidate for a
UNIQUEconstraint. If your data comply with this, add such a constraint. The joins performed in the recursive CTE would not make sense if it wasn’t unique (a node could have 2 parents otherwise).
- if you add that constraint, the
(customer_id, parent_id)would be a candidate for a
FOREIGN KEYconstraint that
(customer_id, object_id). You most probably do not want to add that FK constraint though, since by your description, you are adding new rows and some rows can reference others that haven’t been yet added.
- There are certainly problems with the efficiency of the query, if it’s going to be performed in a big table. Not in the first run, as almost the whole table will be updated anyway. But the second time, you’ll want only new rows (and those that were not touched by the 1st run) to be considered for update. The CTE as it is will have to build a big result.
AND o.generation = -1in the final update will make sure that the rows that were updated in the 1st run will not be updated again but the CTE is still an expensive part.
The following is an attempt to address these issues: improve the CTE as to consider as few rows as possible and use
(customer_id, obejct_id) instead of
(id) to identify rows (so
id is completely removed from the query.
It can be used as the 1st update or a subsequent:
WITH RECURSIVE descendants (customer_id, object_id, depth) AS ( SELECT customer_id, object_id, 0 FROM objects WHERE object_id = parent_id AND generation = -1 UNION ALL SELECT o.customer_id, o.object_id, p.generation + 1 FROM objects o JOIN objects p ON p.customer_id = o.customer_id AND p.object_id = o.parent_id AND p.generation > -1 WHERE o.generation = -1 UNION ALL SELECT o.customer_id, o.object_id, d.depth + 1 FROM objects o INNER JOIN descendants d ON o.customer_id = d.customer_id AND o.parent_id = d.object_id WHERE o.parent_id <> o.object_id AND o.generation = -1 ) UPDATE objects o SET generation = d.depth FROM descendants d WHERE o.customer_id = d.customer_id AND o.object_id = d.object_id AND o.generation = -1 -- this is not really needed
Note how the CTE has 3 parts. The first two are the stable parts. The 1st part find the root nodes that haven’t been updated before and have still
generation=-1 so they must be newly added nodes. The 2nd part finds children (with
generation=-1) of parent nodes that have previously been updated.
The 3rd, recursive part, finds all the descendants of the first two parts, as before.
Tested on SQLfiddle-2
@ypercube already provides ample explanation, so I’ll cut to the chase what I have to add.
parent_iddoes not exist, it should leave the generation column set to -1.
I assume this is supposed to apply recursively, i.e. the rest of the tree always has
generation = -1 after any missing node.
If any node in the tree can be missing (yet) we need to find rows with
generation = -1 that …
… are root nodes
… or have a parent with
generation > -1.
And traverse the tree from there. Child nodes of this selection must have
generation = -1 as well.
generation of the parent incremented by one or fall back to 0 for root nodes:
WITH RECURSIVE tree AS ( SELECT c.customer_id, c.object_id, COALESCE(p.generation + 1, 0) AS depth FROM objects c LEFT JOIN objects p ON c.customer_id = p.customer_id AND c.parent_id = p.object_id AND p.generation > -1 WHERE c.generation = -1 AND (c.parent_id = c.object_id OR p.generation > -1) -- root node ... or parent with generation > -1 UNION ALL SELECT customer_id, c.object_id, p.depth + 1 FROM objects c JOIN tree p USING (customer_id) WHERE c.parent_id = p.object_id AND c.parent_id <> c.object_id -- exclude root nodes AND c.generation = -1 -- logically redundant, but see below! ) UPDATE objects o SET generation = t.depth FROM tree t WHERE o.customer_id = t.customer_id AND o.object_id = t.object_id;
The non-recursive part is a single
SELECT this way, but logically equivalent to @ypercube’s two union’ed
SELECT. Not sure which is faster, you’ll have to test.
The much more important point for performance is:
If you repeatedly add rows to a big table this way, add a partial index:
CREATE INDEX objects_your_name_idx ON objects (customer_id, parent_id, object_id) WHERE generation = -1;
This will achieve more for performance than all other improvements discussed so far – for repeated small additions to a big table.
I added the index condition to the recursive part of the CTE (even though logically redundant) to help the query planner understand that the partial index is applicable.
In addition you should probably also have the
UNIQUE constraint on
(object_id, customer_id) that @ypercube already mentioned. Or, if you cannot impose uniqueness for some reason (why?) add a plain index instead. The order of index columns matters, btw: