a ridiculous graph

Sep 2, 2014  

Following in the theme of the previous post, here (see linked Gist) is a concurrent graph. Again, this is not an efficient way to do something like this, it’s just a fun example of showing something that’s easy in Go but probably harder or more verbose in other languages.

The basic idea here is that every node is a goroutine. So instead of using some structure like a matrix or an adjacency list to “get a handle” on all the nodes and their connections, you let the nodes take care of that themselves. Graph algorithms (trivial ones here are self-identification and depth calculation) are then constructed as interactions with the nodes, without an explicit traversal of vertices and edges.

func node_agent(node *Node) {
	for {
		cmd := <-node.comm
		switch cmd.cmdtype {
		case NameCmd:
			fmt.Println("I am ", node.name)
		case PingCmd:
			cmd.cmdchan <- PingCmd
		case SetDepthCmd:
			// Ask all neighbors to modify depth, and pass
			// along the notification channel to them
			depth := cmd.cmdarg
			if node.state.depth > 0 {
			node.state.depth = depth
			for _, ch := range node.neighbors {
				ch <- Command{SetDepthCmd, cmd.cmdchan, depth + 1}
			cmd.cmdchan <- 1
		case GetDepthCmd:
			cmd.cmdchan <- node.state.depth

The “Hello world” in this scenario is just finding out which nodes exist, which is something as follows:

func IsAlive(node *Node) bool {
	// Ping the node with a 10ms timeout
	pingchan := make(chan int)
	node.comm <- Command{PingCmd, pingchan, 0}
	select {
	case <-pingchan:
		return true
	case <-time.After(10 * time.Millisecond):
		return false

func printGraph(g *Graph) {
	fmt.Println("Graph :")

	for _, node := range g.nodes {
		if IsAlive(node) {
			node.comm <- Command{NameCmd, nil, 0}

A slightly more complicated operation is finding the depth of all nodes relative to the root node:

func calculateDepths(g *Graph) {
	// Recursively trigger computation from root node
	notification := make(chan int)
	g.nodes["root"].comm <- Command{SetDepthCmd, notification, 1}

	for i := 0; i < len(g.nodes); i++ {
		// Wait for every node to receive this atleast once

	// Now check all the depths
	depthchan := make(chan int)
	for name, node := range g.nodes {
		node.comm <- Command{GetDepthCmd, depthchan, 0}
		fmt.Println(name, " => ", <-depthchan)

This being Go, you can play around with the implementation in the playground!