Learning latent events from network message logs

Siddhartha Satpathi, Supratim Deb, R. Srikant, He Yan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We consider the problem of separating error messages generated in large distributed data center networks into error events. In such networks, each error event leads to a stream of messages generated by hardware and software components affected by the event. These messages are stored in a giant message log. We consider the unsupervised learning problem of identifying the signatures of events that generated these messages; here, the signature of an error event refers to the mixture of messages generated by the event. One of the main contributions of the paper is a novel mapping of our problem which transforms it into a problem of topic discovery in documents. Events in our problem correspond to topics and messages in our problem correspond to words in the topic discovery problem. However, there is no direct analog of documents. Therefore, we use a non-parametric change-point detection algorithm, which has linear computational complexity in the number of messages, to divide the message log into smaller subsets called episodes, which serve as the equivalents of documents. After this mapping has been done, we use a well-known algorithm for topic discovery, called LDA, to solve our problem. We theoretically analyze the change-point detection algorithm, and show that it is consistent and has low sample complexity. We also demonstrate the scalability of our algorithm on a real data set consisting of 97 million messages collected over a period of 15 days, from a distributed data center network which supports the operations of a large wireless service provider.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3370621
Pages (from-to)1728-1741
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2019


  • Bayesian inference
  • Change point detection
  • Data center networks
  • Data mining
  • Event message log
  • Time series mixture
  • Unsupervised learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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