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From Billie J Rinaldi <>
Subject Re: more questions about IndexedDocIterators
Date Mon, 16 Jul 2012 18:15:56 GMT
On Sunday, July 15, 2012 7:05:26 PM, "Sukant Hajra" <> wrote:
> Hi all,
> I have a mixed bag of questions to follow up on an earlier post
> inquiring about
> intersecting iterators now that I've done some prototyping:
> 1. Do FamilyIntersectingIterators work in 1.3.4?
> ------------------------------------------------
> Does anyone know if FamilyIntersectingIterators were useable as far
> back as
> 1.3.4? Or am I wasting my time on them at this old version (and need
> to
> upgrade)?
> I got a prototype of IndexedDocIterators working with Accumulo 1.4.1,
> but
> currently have a hung thread in my attempt to use a
> FamilyIntersectingIterator
> with Cloudbase 1.3.4. Also, I noticed the API changed somewhat to
> remove some
> oddly designed static configuration.
> If FamilyIntersectingIterators were buggy, were there sufficient
> work-arounds
> to get some use out of them in 1.3.4?
> Unfortunately, I need to jump through some political/social hoops to
> upgrade,
> but if it's got to be done, then I'll do what I have to.

I think there have been a couple of bug fixes to the FamilyIntersectingIterator since 1.3.4
(including ACCUMULO-178 and ACCUMULO-665).  Most of the fixes have been made in the 1.3 branch,
with the exception of recent ones made for ACCUMULO-665.  I don't know if any of these would
have been related to a hung thread.

> 2. Is this approach reasonable?
> -------------------------------
> We're trying to be clever with our use of indexed docs. We're less
> interested
> in searching over a large corpus of data in parallel, and more
> interested in
> doing some server-side joins in a data-local way (to reduce client
> burden and
> network traffic). So we're heavily "sharding" our documents (billions
> of
> shards) and using range constraints on the iterator to hone in on
> exactly one
> shard (new Range(shardId, shardId)).
> Let me give you a sense for what we're doing. In one use case, we're
> using
> document-indexed iterators to accomodate both per-author and by-time
> accesses
> of a per-document commit log. So we're sharding by document ID (and we
> have
> billions of documents). Then we use the author ID as terms for each
> commit
> (one term per commit entry). We use a reverse timestamp for the doc
> type, so
> we get back these entries in reverse time order. In this way, we can
> scan the
> log for the entire document by time with plan iterators, and for a
> specific
> author with a document-indexed iterator (with a server-side join to
> the commit
> log entry). Later on, we may index the log by other features with this
> approach.
> Is this strategy sane? Is there precedent for doing it? Is there a
> better
> alternative?

Let me see if I understand.  You have a single row per document, with potentially a large
number of commit logs for each, containing at least author, time, and document modification
information.  You can recover the document from any given time by applying the commit logs
in the original order, with a single scan over the 'e'-prefixed column family.  To recover
the contributions of a single author, you use the 'i' column family and seek the column qualifier
to the author to get back a list of commit IDs (or perhaps the timestamps are the IDs), then
you join that with the 'e'-prefixed column family to get back the actual commits.

Are you always dealing with exactly one document at a time?  If it is ever the case that you
want to find all the commits an author has made to any document, you're going to have to do
a number of seeks that is on the order of the number of shards you have.  If instead you group
documents into shards, you aren't losing anything as far as the behavior described above.
 You could still recover the entire document as long as you knew the documentID, shardID,
and docType (though you wouldn't be able to put timestamps in the docType anymore), and you
could similarly pull back all of a single author's changes to a single document.  The improvement
would be in the case where you are intersecting over all documents.  The main question would
be whether you could still use the IndexedDocIterator out of the box, or whether you would
need to modify it for your particular use case.  You might be able to use the plain one if
you used a composite documentID that included the original documentID, reverse timestamp,
and commitID.

> 3. Compressed reverse-timestamp using Unicode tricks?
> ------------------------------------------------------
> I see code in Accumulo like
> // We're past the index column family, so return a term that will sort
> // lexicographically last. The last unicode character should suffice
> return new Text("\uFFFD");
> which gets me thinking that i can probably pull off a impressively
> compressed,
> but still lexically orderd, reverse timestamp using Unicode trickery
> to get a
> gigantic radix. Is there any precedence for this? I'm a little worried
> about
> running into corner cases with Unicode encoding. Otherwise, I think it
> feels
> like a simple algorithm that may not eat up much CPU in translation
> and might
> save disk space at scale.
> Or is this optimizing into the noise given compression Accumulo
> already does
> under the covers?

I would think the compression would take care of this.  If you try it and get an improvement,
we'd be interested in seeing the results.

> 4. Response from IndexedDocIterator not reflecting documentation
> ----------------------------------------------------------------
> I got back results in my prototype that don't line up with the
> documentation
> for a IndexedDocIterator. For example, here's some data I put into a
> test
> table:
> r:"shardId", cf:"e\0docType", cq:"docId", value:"content"
> r:"shardId", cf:"i", cq:"term\0docType\0docId\0docInfo", value:[]
> This is as per the documentation of What I
> believe I
> should have gotten back from an intersecting iteration was:
> r:"shardId", cf:"i", cq:"docType\0docId\0docInfo", value:"content"
> but instead, the column qualifier I actually got was formatted
> differently:
> r:"shardId", cf:"i", cq:"\0docType\0docId\0", value:"content"
> The document info wasn't returned at all, and the column qualifier was
> suspiciously prefixed with a null character.
> This isn't so horrible, because I didn't have plans to use the
> document info
> anyway. Actually, I was curious what people were using it for anyway.
> Based upon my read of the source code for
> IndexedDocIterator#parseDocID, I'm
> not sure how the document info could possibly be parsed. I feel the
> info part
> of the index is truly discarded in code.
> I can provide sample code if people doubt the integrity of my
> protoype. It's
> just not compact in it's current form.
> Mostly, I want to confirm that this behavior is not due to a user
> error on my
> part.

Yes, this is a documentation error.  I believe it just takes a cq:"term\0docType\0docId\0docInfo"
and removes the term and docInfo.  We envisioned the need to have some additional term-specific
docInfo (for example, the offsets where a term can be found in a document) that could be used
by a more specialized iterator to fine-tune results, but I don't know of examples where this
has been used.  Because you're intersecting two terms, the term-specific information needs
to be removed from the cq.  It might make more sense for it to just return the unmodified
document entry instead of a modified index entry, e.g. r:"shardId", cf:"e\0docType", cq:"docId",

> 5. Why not do intersecting iteration of a single term?
> ------------------------------------------------------
> The API throws an exception if you search for only a single term.
> Especially
> given our strategy our strategy of using doc-indexing for server-side
> joining
> (question 2. above), it seems like supporting a single term lookup
> makes sense.
> Also, with the dynamism of user interaction, you don't always know
> up-front how
> many terms a user is interested in any way.
> As a work around, I'm putting in a dummy term with a not-flag. But
> this seems
> silly to me. Am I missing the larger picture or abusing the API?

Yes, the IndexedDocIterator could be altered to return documents for a single term.  The current
behavior is an artifact of its being a subclass of the IntersectingIterator, which only intersects
terms and does not return document contents.

Feel free to open a ticket about improvements you'd like to see.


> Thanks for the help,
> Sukant

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