Tom Lane wrote:
Jay Levitt<>  writes:
- Does KNN-GiST run into problems when<->  returns values that don't "make
sense" in the physical world?

If the indexed entities are records, it would be
entirely your own business how you handled individual fields being NULL.

This turns out to be a bit challenging. Let's say I'm building a nullable_point type that allows the Y axis to be NULL (or any sentinel value for "missing data"), where the semantics are "NULL is infinitely far from the query". I'll need my GiST functions to return useful results with NULL - not just correct results, but results that help partition the tree nicely.

At first I thought this posed a challenge for union; if I have these points:


what's the union? I think the answer is to treat NULL box coordinates like LL = -infinity, UR = infinity, or (equivalently, I think) to store a saw_nulls bit in addition to LL and UR.

The real challenge is probably in picksplit and penalty - where in the tree should I stick (1,NULL)? - at which point you say "Yes, algorithms for efficient indexes are hard work and computer-science-y" and point me at surrogate splitters.

Just thinking out loud, I guess; if other GiST types have addressed this problem, I'd love to hear about it.


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