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Constrained Approximate Similarity Search on Proximity Graph

by   Weijie Zhao, et al.

Search engines and recommendation systems are built to efficiently display relevant information from those massive amounts of candidates. Typically a three-stage mechanism is employed in those systems: (i) a small collection of items are first retrieved by (e.g.,) approximate near neighbor search algorithms; (ii) then a collection of constraints are applied on the retrieved items; (iii) a fine-grained ranking neural network is employed to determine the final recommendation. We observe a major defect of the original three-stage pipeline: Although we only target to retrieve k vectors in the final recommendation, we have to preset a sufficiently large s (s > k) for each query, and “hope” the number of survived vectors after the filtering is not smaller than k. That is, at least k vectors in the s similar candidates satisfy the query constraints. In this paper, we investigate this constrained similarity search problem and attempt to merge the similarity search stage and the filtering stage into one single search operation. We introduce AIRSHIP, a system that integrates a user-defined function filtering into the similarity search framework. The proposed system does not need to build extra indices nor require prior knowledge of the query constraints. We propose three optimization strategies: (1) starting point selection, (2) multi-direction search, and (3) biased priority queue selection. Experimental evaluations on both synthetic and real data confirm the effectiveness of the proposed AIRSHIP algorithm. We focus on constrained graph-based approximate near neighbor (ANN) search in this study, in part because graph-based ANN is known to achieve excellent performance. We believe it is also possible to develop constrained hashing-based ANN or constrained quantization-based ANN.


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