Multimedia Tools and Applications

, Volume 71, Issue 3, pp 1333–1362 | Cite as

MI-File: using inverted files for scalable approximate similarity search

  • Giuseppe Amato
  • Claudio Gennaro
  • Pasquale Savino


We propose a new efficient and accurate technique for generic approximate similarity searching, based on the use of inverted files. We represent each object of a dataset by the ordering of a number of reference objects according to their distance from the object itself. In order to compare two objects in the dataset, we compare the two corresponding orderings of the reference objects. We show that this representation enables us to use inverted files to obtain very efficiently a very small set of good candidates for the query result. The candidate set is then reordered using the original similarity function to obtain the approximate similarity search result. The proposed technique performs several orders of magnitude better than exact similarity searches, still guaranteeing high accuracy. To also demonstrate the scalability of the proposed approach, tests were executed with various dataset sizes, ranging from 200,000 to 100 million objects.


Similarity searching Access methods Multimedia information retrieval 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Giuseppe Amato
    • 1
  • Claudio Gennaro
    • 1
  • Pasquale Savino
    • 1
  1. 1.ISTI-CNRPisaItaly

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