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Sung-Soo Kim's Blog

Dictionary-based Order-preserving String Compression


4 February 2016

Dictionary-based Order-preserving String Compression for Main Memory Column Stores


Column-oriented database systems perform better than traditional row-oriented database systems on analytical workloads such as those found in decision support and business intelligence applications. Moreover, recent work has shown that lightweight compression schemes significantly improve the query processing performance of these systems. One such a lightweight compression scheme is to use a dictionary in order to replace long (variable-length) values of a certain domain with shorter (fixed-length) integer codes. In order to further improve expensive query operations such as sorting and searching, column-stores often use order-preserving compression schemes.

In contrast to the existing work, in this paper we argue that order-preserving dictionary compression does not only pay off for attributes with a small fixed domain size but also for long string attributes with a large domain size which might change over time. Consequently, we introduce new data structures that efficiently support an order-preserving dictionary compression for (variable-length) string attributes with a large domain size that is likely to change over time. The main idea is that we model a dictionary as a table that specifies a mapping from string-values to arbitrary integer codes (and vice versa) and we introduce a novel indexing approach that provides efficient access paths to such a dictionary while compressing the index data. Our experiments show that our data structures are as fast as (or in some cases even faster than) other state-of-the-art data structures for dictionaries while being less memory intensive.

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