[role="pagebreak-before"] === Improving Performance

Phrase and proximity queries are more ((("proximity matching", "improving performance")))((("phrase matching", "improving performance")))expensive than simple match queries. Whereas a match query just has to look up terms in the inverted index, a match_phrase query has to calculate and compare the positions of multiple possibly repeated terms.

The http://people.apache.org/~mikemccand/lucenebench/[Lucene nightly benchmarks] show that a simple term query is about 10 times as fast as a phrase query, and about 20 times as fast as a proximity query (a phrase query with slop). And of course, this cost is paid at search time instead of at index time.


Usually the extra cost of phrase queries is not as scary as these numbers suggest. Really, the difference in performance is a testimony to just how fast a simple term query is. Phrase queries on typical full-text data usually complete within a few milliseconds, and are perfectly usable in practice, even on a busy cluster.

In certain pathological cases, phrase queries can be costly, but this is unusual. An example of a pathological case is DNA sequencing, where there are many many identical terms repeated in many positions. Using higher slop values in this case results in a huge growth in the number of position calculations.


So what can we do to limit the performance cost of phrase and proximity queries? One useful approach is to reduce the total number of documents that need to be examined by the phrase query.

[[rescore-api]] ==== Rescoring Results

In <>, we discussed using proximity queries just for relevance purposes, not to include or exclude results from the result set. ((("relevance scores", "rescoring results for top-N documents with proximity query"))) A query may match millions of results, but chances are that our users are interested in only the first few pages of results.

A simple match query will already have ranked documents that contain all search terms near the top of the list. Really, we just want to rerank the top results to give an extra relevance bump to those documents that also match the phrase query.

The search API supports exactly this functionality via rescoring.((("rescoring"))) The rescore phase allows you to apply a more expensive scoring algorithm--like a phrase query--to just the top K results from each shard. These top results are then resorted according to their new scores.

The request looks like this:


GET /my_index/my_type/_search { "query": { "match": { <1> "title": { "query": "quick brown fox", "minimum_should_match": "30%" } } }, "rescore": { "window_size": 50, <2> "query": { <3> "rescore_query": { "match_phrase": { "title": { "query": "quick brown fox", "slop": 50 } } } } }


// SENSE: 120_Proximity_Matching/30_Performance.json

<1> The match query decides which results will be included in the final result set and ranks results according to TF/IDF.((("window_size parameter")))

<2> The window_size is the number of top results to rescore, per shard.

<3> The only rescoring algorithm currently supported is another query, but there are plans to add more algorithms later.