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Execution performance issues in full-text information retrieval

Eric William Brown, University of Massachusetts Amherst


The task of an information retrieval system is to identify documents that will satisfy a user's information need. Effective fulfillment of this task has long been an active area of research, leading to sophisticated retrieval models for representing information content in documents and queries and measuring similarity between the two. The maturity and proven effectiveness of these systems has resulted in demand for increased capacity, performance, scalability, and functionality, especially as information retrieval is integrated into more traditional database management environments. In this dissertation we explore a number of functionality and performance issues in information retrieval. First, we consider creation and modification of the document collection, concentrating on management of the inverted file index. An inverted file architecture based on a persistent object store is described and experimental results are presented for inverted file creation and modification. Our architecture provides performance that scales well with document collection size and the database features supported by the persistent object store provide many solutions to issues that arise during integration of information retrieval into more general database environments. We then turn to query evaluation speed and introduce a new optimization technique for statistical ranking retrieval systems that support structured queries. Experimental results from a variety of query sets show that execution time can be reduced by more than 50% with no noticeable impact on retrieval effectiveness, making these more complex retrieval models attractive alternatives for environments that demand high performance.

Subject Area

Computer science|Information Systems

Recommended Citation

Brown, Eric William, "Execution performance issues in full-text information retrieval" (1996). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI9619375.