Saturday, April 09, 2005

The Need for Speed

A search engine must be fast - ideally we need a sub-second response time.

We time every search and you can see the time taken in the footer of the page. If ever you see this number above 2 seconds please contact me: "Tim the Timer" one of our dutiful robots also helps us monitor speed.

Trexy has different storage and retrieval requirements to a traditional inverted index based system (e.g., Google, Yahoo etc). But we do share the same speed requirements - as fast as possible, please!

Recently I've been working on making sure we stay sub-second - this means optimisation, optimisation, optimisation! But the fateful words of the legendary computer scientist CAR Hoare have been ringing in my ears:
"Premature optimisation is the root of all evil."
And normally he's right. But for us:
"A slow search engine is even more evil."
So it's back to the optimisation battle ... next time you search have a look at the footer of the results page to see how the war is going.

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