Stream VByte: Faster Byte-Oriented Integer Compression


Arrays of integers are often compressed in search engines. Though there are many ways to compress integers, we are interested in the popular byte-oriented integer compression techniques (e.g., VByte or Google's Varint-GB). They are appealing due to their simplicity and engineering convenience. Amazon's varint-G8IU is one of the fastest byte-oriented compression technique published so far. It makes judicious use of the powerful single-instruction-multiple-data (SIMD) instructions available in commodity processors. To surpass varint-G8IU, we present Stream VByte, a novel byte-oriented compression technique that separates the control stream from the encoded data. Like varint-G8IU, Stream VByte is well suited for SIMD instructions. We show that Stream VByte decoding can be up to twice as fast as varint-G8IU decoding over real data sets. In this sense, Stream VByte establishes new speed records for byte-oriented integer compression, at times exceeding the speed of the memcpy function. On a 3.4GHz Haswell processor, it decodes more than 4 billion differentially-coded integers per second from RAM to L1 cache.

Information Processing Letters 130, 2018