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Placing skips

  • Simple heuristic: for postings of length L, use √L evenly-spaced skip pointers.

  • This ignores the distribution of query terms.

  • Easy if the index is relatively static; harder if L keeps changing because of updates.

  • This definitely used to help; with modern hardware it may not (Bahle et al. 2002) unless you’re memory-based

    • The I/O cost of loading a bigger postings list can outweigh the gains from quicker in memory merging!


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