Efficient Error-tolerant Query Autocompletion

Chuan Xiao, Jianbin Qin, Wei Wang, Yoshiharu Ishikawa, Koji Tsuda, Kunihiko Sadakane

Published in PVLDB, 2013

Query autocompletion is an important feature saving users many keystrokes from typing the entire query. In this paper we study the problem of query autocompletion that tolerates errors in users' input using edit distance constraints. Previous approaches index data strings in a trie, and continuously maintain all the prefixes of data strings whose edit distance from the query are within the threshold. The major inherent problem is that the number of such prefixes is huge for the first few characters of the query and is exponential in the alphabet size. This results in slow query response even if the entire query approximately matches only few prefixes.
In this paper, we propose a novel neighborhood generationbased algorithm, IncNGTrie, which can achieve up to two orders of magnitude speedup over existing methods for the error-tolerant query autocompletion problem. Our proposed algorithm only maintains a small set of active nodes, thus saving both space and time to process the query. We also study efficient duplicate removal which is a core problem in fetching query answers. In addition, we propose optimization techniques to reduce our index size, as well as discussions on several extensions to our method. The efficiency of our method is demonstrated against existing methods through extensive experiments on real datasets.

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