Flexible and efficient IR using array databases
The Matrix Framework is a recent proposal by IR researchers to flexibly represent all important information retrieval models in a single multi-dimensional array framework. Computational support for exactly this framework is provided by the array database system SRAM (Sparse Relational Array Mapping) that works on top of a DBMS. Information retrieval models can be specified in its comprehension-based array query language, in a way that directly corresponds to the underlying mathematical formulas. SRAM efficiently stores sparse arrays in (compressed) relational tables and translates and optimizes array queries into relational queries. In this work, we describe a number of array query optimization rules and demonstrate their effect on text retrieval in the TREC TeraByte track (TREC-TB) efficiency task, using the Okapi BM25 model as our example. It turns out that these optimization rules enable SRAM to automatically translate the BM25 array queries into the relational equivalent of inverted list processing including compression, score materialization and quantization, such as employed by custom-built IR systems. The use of the high-performance MonetDB/X100 relational backend, that provides transparent database compression, allows the system to achieve very fast response times with good precision and low resource usage.