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From Chris Hostetter <>
Subject Re: yet again: getting the minimum and maximum value of a field
Date Wed, 25 Jun 2008 22:01:14 GMT

: There the final solution suggestion from Hoss was to try it with a binary
: search
: on the TermEnum

my suggestion at the time to do a binary search was a bit naive (i was 
not as familiar with Lucene as I am now).

: Because of the tree-like architecture of the index, where the letters are some
: kind of nodes, e.g.
:      a               z
:    ab   ar         ze  zu
:  abi     ark     zer    zul
: I would assume that there is a fast possibility to determine that 'abi' is the
: minimum and 'zul' the maximum for that field - by simply walking through the

the problem is that Terms are not actually organized in a tree structure 
-- the Term list is essentially a large singly linked list with an "index" 
(overused terminology unfortunately) of ever N terms so that it's possible 
to skip very quickly based a lot of nodes in the list.

: like this? At least the RangeQuery implementation I would assume walks throgh
: the tree.

RangeQuery (and RangeFilter) skipTo the lowerbound and then next() their 
way to the upper bound -- but that's because they actually care about 
every term in between.

To find the min you can skipTo(new Term(yourField, ""))and as long as the 
enum is pointed a Term for yourField you've got the min (if it's not, 
yourField isn't in the index)

For the max things get harder ... the simplest appraoch is to next() your 
way along untill you find a term not in the current field ... whatever the 
last Term value was is your max ... but for fields with lots of Terms, it 
*might* be faster to do some iterative attempts with skipTo() to jump 
ahead -- if you ever pass over into a new field, then you know you skiped 
to far, you need to get a new TermEnum, skipTo() the last "good" term and 
then iterate from there (or skipTo() with smaller jumps ... maybe that's 
what i ment by a binary search?)

writing completley generic code to do this would be easy, but probably not 
very efficient since it would have to worry about the fully gambit of 
unicode characters.  if however you know that a field always contains 
integers, or english text with limited punctuation, you can probably make 
much more efficient guesses about what to try skiping to ("z" for example)

Typically, it's much easier to just keep track at indexing time of the 
min/max ... a TokenFilter that inspects Tokens without modifying them can 
do this very easily.


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