Solr sort and limit the results of a sub-query - search

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I am using Solr as my search engine and what I want to do is to sort and limit the result of a subquery. For example, let's say I have a Amazon product review datasets and I want to get all the products with title containing "iphone" OR products in the smart-phone category.
I'd write solr query something like: "name:iphone OR category:smartphone". However, the problem with this is that there are too many products that are in the category of "smartphone". So I want to limit to only popular products where the popularity is defined by something like a reviewCount. So what I'd like is, for the second subquery, sort the results of that sub-query based on reviewCount and then only take topK. That is, I want to something like:
name:iphone OR (category:smartphone AND sort:reviewCount desc AND rows=100)
So that I can get the products that are "iphone" OR top-100 popular smart phones.
Does Solr support something like this ?

I'm sorry to tell you that this is not possible. Lucene-based search engines spread indexes over multiple shards. Every shard then calculates matches and scores independently. At the very end, the results become aggregated and the number of result rows is cropped. That's why subqueries do not exist here. You can only boost on the score (which should be preferred over sorting) or make two parallel requests and combine the results on the client side (which should be fairly easy with your example).


Designing Twitter Search - How to sort large datasets?

I'm reading an article about how to design a Twitter Search. The basic idea is to map tweets based on their ids to servers where each server has the mapping
English word -> A set of tweetIds having this word
Now if we want to find all the tweets that have some word all we need is to query all servers and aggregate the results. The article casually suggests that we can also sort the results by some parameter like "popularity" but isn't that a heavy task, especially if the word is an hot word?
What is done in practice in such search systems?
Maybe some tradeoff are being used?
First of all, there are two types of indexes: local and global.
A local index is stored on the same computer as tweet data. For example, you may have 10 shards and each of these shards will have its own index; like word "car" -> sorted list of tweet ids.
When search is run we will have to send the query to every server. As we don't know where the most popular tweets are. That query will ask every server to return their top results. All of these results will be collected on the same box - the one executing the user request - and that process will pick top 10 of of entire population.
Since all results are already sorted in the index itself, it is a O(1) operation to pick top 10 results from all lists - as we will be doing simple heap/watermarking on set number of tweets.
Second nice property, we can do pagination - the next query will be also sent to every box with additional data - give me top 10, with popularity below X, where X is the popularity of last tweet returned to customer.
Global index is a different beast - it does not live on the same boxes as data (it could, but does not have to). In that case, when we search for a keyword, we know exactly where to look for. And the index itself is also sorted, hence it is fast to get top 10 most popular results (or get pagination).
Since the global index returns only tweet Ids and not tweet itself, we will have to lookup tweets for every id - this is called N+1 problem - 1 query to get a list of ids and then one query for every id. There are several ways to solve this - caching and data duplication are by far most common approaches.

Is it preferable to have high activity fields in Cassandra exist in their own table?

Let's say I'm implementing a forum system (let's think something like Reddit or even SO) that's backed by Cassandra.
A post has multiple fields, like content, timestamp, etc, plus a rating (upvotes plus downvotes). Posts are backed by a POSTS table. Let's assume for the sake of the argument that I don't care to know which specific users did upvote or downvote, I just care about a post's total rating.
I'm wondering if there's any advantage in storing the ratings in a RATINGS (post_id, rating) table instead of just having it as a field in POSTS, given that there are going to be lots of upvotes / downvotes happening all the time.
Given Cassandra's architecture, what would be the ins and outs of choosing one approach over the other?
Putting rating in another table will not make sense as it appears you will be using the same partition key for both tables (POSTS and RATINGS). You can always get ratings from POSTS table. I don't see any benefit in creating RATINGS table.

What indexer do I use to find the list in the collection that is most similar to my list?

Lets say I have my list of ingredients:
and I want to return lists from a database that are most similar to mine:
My query would return this first:
I've used Solr, and have looked at CloudSearch, ElasticSearch, Algolia, Searchify and Swiftype. These engines only seem to let me put in one query string and then filter by other facets.
In a real scenario my search list will be about 200 items long and will be matching against about a million lists in my database.
What technology should I use to accomplish what I want to do?
Should I look away from search indexers and more towards database-esque things like mongo, map reduce, hadoop... All I know are the names of other technologies and I just need someone to point me in the right direction on what technology path I should be exploring for this.
With so much data I can't really loop through it, I need to query everything at once.
I wonder what keeps you from trying it with Solr, as Solr provides much of what you need. You can declare the field as type="string" multiValued="true and save each list item as a value. Then, when querying, you specify each of the items in the list to look for as a search term for that field, and Solr will – by default – return the closest match.
If you need exact control over what will be regarded as a match (e.g. at least 40% of the terms from the search list have to be in a matching list) you can use the mm EDisMax parameter, cf. Solr Wiki
Having said that, I must add that I’ve never searched for 200 query terms (do I unerstand correctly that the list whose contents should be searched will contain about 200 items?) and do not know how well that performs. But I guess that setting up a test core and filling it with random lists using a script should not take more than a few hours, so it should be possible to evaluate the performance of this approach without investing too much time.

showing search results more efficiently?

I want to implement the auto-complete feature provided by various e-commerce stores. Functionality is pretty simple, when you type some characters, it start showing relevant suggestions.
I implemented it using solr (django-haystack), using the autocomplete method provided in haystack.query.SearchQuerySet . Basically, i get a list of results sorted by the score. Showing top n results as suggestions.
Solr document contains $product_name, $category_name and other fields. So the results which i generated looks like list of " in ".
Problem arise when i change the category name. If i change the category name, i have to update all the product belong to that particular category to reflect these changes in the auto-complete (update all documents in solr for products of this category).
Another way to do this is by putting just the id of the categories with product in the solr document. In that case, I have do look-up for category name each time, and this is not efficient.
Is there any other efficient way to do this?
Since you are changing the underlying data, the same has to be propogated to SOLR.
There are different approaches to do this:
Update the database, and reindex - Pros: Simple enough, Cons: Indexing time can be large.
Update database and Solr in tandem - Pros: Quick updates, almost instantaneous, Cons: Can lead to data inconsistency (if one update fails)
Update database, and schedule a delta-import in Solr. This is like a middle ground between the two above.
I would recommend the 3rd approach, but this would require some upfront schema design. Read more about delta import here, in context of DataImportHandler.

Multiple queries in Solr

My problem is I have n fields (say around 10) in Solr that are searchable, they all are indexed and stored. I would like to run a query first on my whole index of say 5000 docs which will hit around an average of 500 docs. Next I would like to query using a different set of keywords on these 500 docs and NOT on the whole index.
So the first time I send a query a score will be generated, the second time I run a query the new score generated should be based on the 500 documents of the previous query, or in other words Solr should consider only these 500 docs as the whole index.
To summarise this, Index of 5000 will be filtered to 500 and then 50 (5000>500>50). Its basically filtering but I would like to do this in Solr.
I have reasonable basic knowledge and still learning.
Update: If represented mathematically it would look like this:
results2=f(query2, results1)
final_results=f(query3, results2)
I would like this to be accomplish using a program and end-user will only see 50 results. So faceting is not an option.
Two likely implementations occur to me. The simplest approach would be to just add the first query to the second query;
+(first query) +(new query)
This is a good approach if the first query, which you want to filter on, changes often. If the first query is something like a category of documents, or something similar where you can benefit from reuse of the same filter, then a filter query is the better approach, using the fq parameter, something like:
filter queries cache a set of document ids to filter against, so for commonly used searches, like categories, common date ranges, etc., a significant performance benefit can be gained from it (for uncommon searches, or user-entered search strings, it may just incur needless overhead to cache the results, and pollute the cache with a useless result set)
Filter queries (fq) are specifically designed to do quick restriction of the result set by not doing any score calculation.
So, if you put your first query into fq parameter and your second score-generating query in the normal 'q' parameter, it should do what you ask for.
See also a question discussing this issue from the opposite direction.
I believe you want to use a nested query like this:
text:"roses are red" AND _query_:"type:poems"
You can read more about nested queries here:
Should take a look at "faceted search" from Solr: This will help you in this kind of "iterative" search.