Yahoo Papers on Caching

Two very good papers from Yahoo on caching:

A Refreshing Perspective of Search Engine Caching

Commercial Web search engines have to process user queries over huge Web indexes under tight latency constraints. In practice, to achieve low latency, large result caches are employed and a portion of the query traffic is served using previously computed results. Moreover, search engines need to update their indexes frequently to incorporate changes to the Web. After every index update, however, the content of cache entries may become stale, thus decreasing the freshness of served results. In this work, we first argue that the real problem in today’s caching for large-scale search engines is not eviction policies, but the ability to cope with changes to the index, i.e., cache freshness. We then introduce a novel algorithm that uses a time-to-live value to set cache entries to expire and selectively refreshes cached results by issuing refresh queries to back-end search clusters. The algorithm prioritizes the entries to refresh according to a heuristic that combines the frequency of access with the age of an entry in the cache. In addition, for setting the rate at which refresh queries are issued, we present a mechanism that takes into account idle cycles of back-end servers. Evaluation using a real workload shows that our algorithm can achieve hit rate improvements as well as reduction in average hit ages. An implementation of this algorithm is currently in production use at Yahoo!.

Caching Search Engine Results over Incremental Indices (Poster)

A Web search engine must update its index periodically to incorporate changes to the Web, and we argue in this work that index updates fundamentally impact the design of search engine result caches. Index updates lead to the problem of cache invalidation: invalidating cached entries of queries whose results have changed. To enable efficient inval- idation of cached results, we propose a framework for devel- oping invalidation predictors and some concrete predictors. Evaluation using Wikipedia documents and a query log from Yahoo! shows that selective invalidation of cached search results can lower the number of query re-evaluations by as much as 30% compared to a baseline time-to-live scheme, while returning results of similar freshness.

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