Browse Definitions:
Definition

distributed search

Distributed search is a search engine model in which the tasks of Web crawling, indexing and query processing are distributed among multiple computers and networks.

Originally, most search engines were supported by a single supercomputer . In recent years, however, most have moved to a distributed model. Google search, for example, relies upon thousands of computers crawling the Web from multiple locations all over the world.

In Google's distributed search system, each computer involved in indexing crawls and reviews a portion of the Web, taking a URL and following every link available from it (minus those marked for exclusion). The computer gathers the crawled results from the URLs and sends that information back to a centralized server in compressed format. The centralized server then coordinates that information in a database , along with information from other computers involved in indexing.

When a user types a query into the search field, Google's domain name server ( DNS ) software relays the query to the most logical cluster of computers, based on factors such as its proximity to the user or how busy it is. At the recipient cluster, the Web server software distributes the query to hundreds or thousands of computers to search simultaneously. Hundreds of computers scan the database index to find all relevant records. The index server compiles the results, the document server pulls together the titles and summaries and the page builder creates the search result pages.

Some projects, such as Wikia Search (formerly Grub ) are moving towards an even more decentralized search model. Similarly to distributed computing projects such as SETI@home , many distributed search projects are supported by a network of voluntary users whose computers run client software in the background.

This was last updated in April 2008

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

SearchCompliance

  • smart contract

    A smart contract, also known as a cryptocontract, is a computer program that directly controls the transfer of digital currencies...

  • risk map (risk heat map)

    A risk map, also known as a risk heat map, is a data visualization tool for communicating specific risks an organization faces. A...

  • internal audit (IA)

    An internal audit (IA) is an organizational initiative to monitor and analyze its own business operations in order to determine ...

SearchCloudProvider

  • cloud ecosystem

    A cloud ecosystem is a complex system of interdependent components that all work together to enable cloud services.

  • cloud services

    Cloud services is an umbrella term that may refer to a variety of resources provided over the internet, or to professional ...

  • uncloud (de-cloud)

    The term uncloud describes the action or process of removing applications and data from a cloud computing platform.

SearchSecurity

  • Common Body of Knowledge (CBK)

    In security, Common Body of Knowledge (CBK) is a comprehensive framework of all the relevant subjects a security professional ...

  • Metamorphic virus

    A metamorphic virus is a type of malware that is capable of changing its code and signature patterns with each iteration.

  • vulnerability assessment (vulnerability analysis)

    A vulnerability assessment is the process of defining, identifying, classifying and prioritizing vulnerabilities in computer ...

SearchHealthIT

  • Practice Fusion

    Practice Fusion Inc. is a San Francisco-based company that developed a free electronic health record (EHR) system available to ...

  • RHIA (Registered Health Information Administrator)

    An RHIA, or registered health information administrator, is a certified professional who oversees the creation and use of patient...

  • 21st Century Cures Act

    The 21st Century Cures Act is a wide-ranging healthcare bill that funds medical research and development, medical device ...

SearchDisasterRecovery

SearchStorage

  • storage medium (storage media)

    In computers, a storage medium is any technology -- including devices and materials -- used to place, keep and retrieve ...

  • Random Access Memory (RAM)

    Random Access Memory (RAM) is the hardware in a computing device where the operating system (OS), application programs and data ...

  • floating gate transistor (FGT)

    A floating gate transistor (FGT) is a complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) technology capable of holding an electrical ...

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • hybrid hard disk drive (HDD)

    A hybrid hard disk drive is an electromechanical spinning hard disk that contains some amount of NAND Flash memory.

Close