Open Access

DBM-Tree: Trading height-balancing for performance in metric access methods

  • Marcos R. Vieira1,
  • Caetano Traina1,
  • Fabio J. T. Chino1 and
  • Agma J. M. Traina1
Journal of the Brazilian Computer Society11:BF03192381


Metric Access Methods (MAM) are employed to accelerate the processing of similarity queries, such as the range and the k-nearest neighbor queries. Current methods, such as the Slim-tree and the M-tree, improve the query performance minimizing the number of disk accesses, keeping a constant height of the structures stored on disks (height-balanced trees). However, the overlapping between their nodes has a very high influence on their performance. This paper presents a new dynamic MAM called theDBM-tree (Density-Based Metric tree), which can minimize the overlap between high-density nodes by relaxing the height-balancing of the structure. Thus, the height of the tree is larger in denser regions, in order to keep a tradeoff between breadth-searching and depth-searching. An underpinning for cost estimation on tree structures is their height, so we show a non-height dependable cost model that can be applied for DBM-tree. Moreover, an optimization algorithm calledShrink is also presented, which improves the performance of an already builtDBM-tree by reorganizing the elements among their nodes. Experiments performed over both synthetic and real world datasets showed that theDBM-tree is, in average, 50% faster than traditional MAM and reduces the number of distance calculations by up to 72% and disk accesses by up to 66%. After performing the Shrink algorithm, the performance improves up to 40% regarding the number of disk accesses for range andk-nearest neighbor queries. In addition, theDBM-tree scales up well, exhibiting linear performance with growing number of elements in the database.

Key words

Metric Access MethodMetric TreeIndexingSimilarity Queries