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Genetic Query Optimization (GEQO) in Postgres

The GEQO module is intended for the solution of the query optimization problem similar to a traveling salesman problem (TSP). Possible query plans are encoded as integer strings. Each string represents the join order from one relation of the query to the next. E. g., the query tree

       /\
      /\ 2
     /\ 3
    4  1
is encoded by the integer string '4-1-3-2', which means, first join relation '4' and '1', then '3', and then '2', where 1, 2, 3, 4 are relids in Postgres.

Parts of the GEQO module are adapted from D. Whitley's Genitor algorithm.

Specific characteristics of the GEQO implementation in Postgres are:

  • Usage of a steady state GA (replacement of the least fit individuals in a population, not whole-generational replacement) allows fast convergence towards improved query plans. This is essential for query handling with reasonable time;

  • Usage of edge recombination crossover which is especially suited to keep edge losses low for the solution of the TSP by means of a GA;

  • Mutation as genetic operator is deprecated so that no repair mechanisms are needed to generate legal TSP tours.

The GEQO module gives the following benefits to the Postgres DBMS compared to the Postgres query optimizer implementation:

  • Handling of large join queries through non-exhaustive search;

  • Improved cost size approximation of query plans since no longer plan merging is needed (the GEQO module evaluates the cost for a query plan as an individual).

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