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From Grant Ingersoll <>
Subject Re: Best Practices for getting Strings from a position range
Date Mon, 16 Jul 2007 11:41:27 GMT

On Jul 16, 2007, at 1:06 AM, Chris Hostetter wrote:

> : Do we have a best practice for going from, say a SpanQuery doc/
> : position information and retrieving the actual range of positions of
> : content from the Document?  Is it just to reanalyze the Document
> : using the appropriate Analyzer and start recording once you hit the
> : positions you are interested in?    Seems like Term Vectors _could_
> : help, but even my new Mapper approach patch (LUCENE-868) doesn't
> : really help, because they are stored in a term-centric manner.  I
> : guess what I am after is a position centric approach.  That is, give
> this is kind of what i was suggesting in the last message i sent
> to the java-user thread about paylods and SpanQueries (which i'm
> guessing is what prompted this thread as well)...
> tf3988826.html#a11551628

This is one use case, the other is related to the new patch I  
submitted for LUCENE-960.  In this case, I have a SpanQueryFilter  
that identifies a bunch of docs and positions ahead of time.  Then  
the user enters new Span Query and I want to relate the matches from  
the user query with the positions of matches in the filter and then  
show that window.

> my point was that currently, to retrieve a payload you need a
> TermPositions instance, which is designed for iterating in the  
> order of...
>     seek(term)
>       skipTo(doc)
>          nextPosition()
>             getPayload()
> ...which is great for getting the payload of every instance
> (ie:position) of a specific term in a given document (or in every
> document) but without serious changes to the Spans API, the ideal  
> payload
> API would let you say...
>     skipTo(doc)
>        advance(startPosition)
>          getPayload()
>        while (nextPosition() < endPosition)
>          getPosition()
> but this seems like a nearly impossible API to implement given the  
> natore
> of hte inverted index and the fact that terms aren't ever stored in
> position order.
> there's a lot i really don't know/understand about the lucene term
> position internals ... but as i recall, the datastructure written  
> to disk
> isn't actually a tree structure inverted index, it's a long  
> sequence of
> tuples correct?  so in theory you could scan along the tuples  
> untill you
> find the doc you are interested in, ignoring all of the term info  
> along
> the way, then whatever term you happen be on at the moment, you  
> could scan
> along all of the positions until you find one in the range you are
> interested in -- assuming you do, then you record the current Term  
> (and
> read your payload data if interested)

I think the main issue I see is in both the payloads and the matching  
case above is that they require a document centric approach.  And  
then, for each Document,
you ideally want to be able to just index into an array so that you  
can go directly to the position that is needed based on Span.getStart()

> if i remember correctly, the first part of this is easy, and  
> relative fast
> -- i think skipTo(doc) on a TermDoc or TermPositions will happily  
> scan for
> the first <term,doc> pair with the correct docId, irregardless of  
> the term
> ... the only thing i'm not sure about is how efficient it is to  
> loop over
> nextPosition() for every term you find to see if any of them are in  
> your
> range ... the best case scenerio is that the first position  
> returned is
> above the high end of your range, in which case you can stop  
> immediately
> and seek to the next term -- butthe worst case is that you call
> nextPosition() over an over a lot of times before you get a  
> position in
> (or above) your rnage .... an advancePosition(pos) that wokred like  
> seek
> or skipTo might be helpful here.
> : I feel like I am missing something obvious.  I would suspect the
> : highlighter needs to do this, but it seems to take the reanalyze
> : approach as well (I admit, though, that I have little experience  
> with
> : the highlighter.)
> as i understand it the default case is to reanalyze, but if you have
> TermFreqVector info stored with positions (ie: a  
> TermPositionVector) then
> it can use that to construct a TokenStream by iterating over all  
> terms and
> writing them into a big array in position order (see the  
> TermSources class
> in the highlighter)

Ah, I see that now.  Thanks.
> this makes sense when highlighting because it doesn't know what  
> kind of
> fragmenter is going to be used so it needs the whole TokenStream,  
> but it
> seems less then ideal when you are only interested in a small  
> number of
> position ranges that you know in advance.
> : I am wondering if it would be useful to have an alternative Term
> : Vector storage mechanism that was position centric.  Because we
> : couldn't take advantage of the lexicographic compression, it would
> : take up more disk space, but it would be a lot faster for these  
> kinds
> i'm not sure if it's really neccessary to store the data in a position
> centric manner, assuming we have a way to "seek" by position like i
> described above -- but then again i don't really know that what i
> described above is all that possible/practical/performant.

I suppose I could use my Mapper approach to organize things in a  
position centric way now that I think about it more.  Just means some  
unpacking and repacking.  Still, probably would perform well enough  
since I can setup the correct structure on the fly.  I will give this  
a try.  Maybe even add a Mapper to do this.


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