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bitmap-index-scan faster than seq-scan on full-table-scan (gin index)

From: Jesper Krogh <jesper(at)krogh(dot)cc>
To: pgsql-hackers(at)postgresql(dot)org
Subject: bitmap-index-scan faster than seq-scan on full-table-scan (gin index)
Date: 2010-05-31 19:52:40
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Lists: pgsql-hackers

The test data a set of generated terms using this perl-script

I have generated a test dataset with an average tsvector length of
around 250 and 200.000 tuples in the dataset.

Conceptually searching for the "full dataset" would always be fastest
solved by a seq-scan. The query planner enforces this so much, so not
even "enable_seqscan=off" can convince it to to something else. So in
the next two explain analyze I compare a query searching 99% of the
table up with a seqscan. The 98% case is enforced to be a 
I would expect the runtime of the seqscan to be shortest and the 
to be quite a lot larger, due to "random access" and the fact that the 
also needs to be read in from disk.

Bot runs are run with a freshly started postgresql backend and
"echo 3 > /proc/sys/vm/drop_caches" so the os caching should not come 
into play.

ftstest=# EXPLAIN ANALYZE select id from ftstest where body_fts @@ 
  Bitmap Heap Scan on ftstest  (cost=6579.81..992733.57 rows=195976 
width=4) (actual time=4813.258..7081.277 rows=195976 loops=1)
    Recheck Cond: (body_fts @@ to_tsquery('commonterm98'::text))
    ->  Bitmap Index Scan on ftstest_gist_idx  (cost=0.00..6530.82 
rows=195976 width=0) (actual time=4787.513..4787.513 rows=195976 loops=1)
          Index Cond: (body_fts @@ to_tsquery('commonterm98'::text))
  Total runtime: 7389.346 ms
(5 rows)

ftstest=# set enable_bitmapscan = off;
WARNING:  terminating connection because of crash of another server process
DETAIL:  The postmaster has commanded this server process to roll back 
the current transaction and exit, because another server process exited 
abnormally and possibly corrupted shared memory.
HINT:  In a moment you should be able to reconnect to the database and 
repeat your command.
server closed the connection unexpectedly
     This probably means the server terminated abnormally
     before or while processing the request.
The connection to the server was lost. Attempting reset: Succeeded.
ftstest=# set enable_bitmapscan = off;
ftstest=# EXPLAIN ANALYZE select id from ftstest where body_fts @@ 
                                                       QUERY PLAN
  Seq Scan on ftstest  (cost=0.00..1006314.00 rows=195976 width=4) 
(actual time=96.077..60092.080 rows=195976 loops=1)
    Filter: (body_fts @@ to_tsquery('commonterm98'::text))
  Total runtime: 60436.556 ms
(3 rows)

So searching the full table via a bitmap-index-scan is actually 9 times
cheaper than a seq-scan.  (same on 9.0b1 and 8.4).

Digging more into it reveals that the body_fts tsvector is indeed needed for
the "filter" in the SeqScan. The tsvector data is stored in a TOAST 
table and
the in the bitmap-index-scan case it only needs to read in the main table
for checking visibillity. In the end it translates to reading in 1.4GB of
TOAST-data vs. reading in 34MB of table data.

Thinking a bit, then I dont think this is a particular rare case, 
allthough the
ratio between the tables may be a real cornercase. The ratio is not 1:33 
in the
dataset that looks like the production dataset, but more 1:10, but in 
all cases
in "production" there would be a much higher cache-hit ratio on the 
and the main table pages than on the TOAST table, so even with a ratio 
of 1:1
there most likely would be a real-world benefit.

Would it be possible to implement the "Filtering" using the gin-index and
a subsequent visibillity-check as on the index-scan?

The same end up being the case for queries ordered by btree indexes and
"filtered" by gin-indexes.



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