On Sat, Mar 17, 2012 at 11:33 AM, Greg Stark <st...@mit.edu> wrote:
> On Sat, Mar 17, 2012 at 9:34 AM, Simon Riggs <si...@2ndquadrant.com> wrote:
>> My wish was to register this as both a common and significant bug,
> It has definitely come up here before many times.
> However at root the problem is part of the general class of not
> understanding how two different columns are related. Postgres is
> assuming they're entirely independent and therefore all the values of
> x are uniformly distributed over values of y.
> To plan this better in your case it would have to know that blah_id <=
> 72572020 is not equally likely for user_id = ANY
> ('{....list....}'::integer[]) as it is for the table as a whole.

That is not the root cause in this case, though I agree that is also a
problem. The first plan is more complex because of an ORDER BY that
favours the index scan, but that's actually irrelevant to the case;
the use of blah_id is actually the user using the fact that things are
allocated in date order to avoid doing a date sort.

The problems are as I described them

(1) no account made for sparsity, and other factors leading to an
overestimate of rows (N)

(2) inappropriate assumption of the effect of LIMIT m, which causes a
costly SeqScan to appear better than an IndexScan for low m/N, when in
fact that is seldom the case.

Overestimating N in (1) inverts the problem, so that an overestimate
isn't the safe thing at all.

 Simon Riggs                   http://www.2ndQuadrant.com/
 PostgreSQL Development, 24x7 Support, Training & Services

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