Create Index

Create an index

To create an index you can use the following syntax:


CREATE INDEX ON [TABLE] USING lantern_hnsw ([column] [operator class])
    WITH (M=[int], ef_construction=[int], ef=[int], dim=[int]);

For example, in the query below we create an index on our books table, over the book_embedding column which has dimension 3, using the L2 squared distance operator class dist_l2sq_ops. We choose the HNSW parameters M=2, ef_construction=4, and ef=4.


    lantern_hnsw (book_embedding dist_l2sq_ops)
    M = 2,
    ef_construction = 10,
    ef = 4,
    dim = 3

Operator classes

The following distance metrics are available for indexes, using the corresponding operator classes.

Distance metric

Distance operator class

Supported data types

Distance operator













The index is created using a specified distance metric. As such, vector queries should use the corresponding distance operator. For example, an index created with the dist_l2sq_ops operator class should be queried using the <-> operator.

If an operator is used that does not have a corresponding index with the same operator class, the query will not use the index and will run an exact search over all rows.

Index Parameters

mnumberdefault: 16

The number of bi-directional links created for every new element during construction. Reasonable range for m is 2-100. Higher m work better on datasets with high intrinsic dimensionality and/or high recall, while low m work better for datasets with low intrinsic dimensionality and/or low recalls.

Maximum allowed value for m is 128

ef_constructionnumberdefault: 128

The size of the dynamic list for the nearest neighbors (used during the index construction). Higher ef_construction leads to better index quality, but reduces indexing speed.

Maximum allowed value for ef_construction is 400

efnumberdefault: 64

The size of the dynamic list for the nearest neighbors (used during search). Higher ef leads to more accurate but slower search. (this parameter is also controlled via seesion based hnsw.ef variable)

Maximum allowed value for ef is 400

This parameter is also controlled via session based hnsw.ef variable, which has precedence over this parameter sql SET hnsw.ef=128


Vector dimensions that will be stored in the table. If not specified it will try to be inferred from the existing data.

Maximum allowed dimensions for now is 2000


Path to index file created via Lantern CLI

In order for the index file to function properly, it should be present in the server where the database is running and accessible to the user running the database.

hnsw.init_kstringdefault: 10

Number of items you are expecting from index to return. This is session based variable.

It is important to set this value according the LIMIT in your query or the search performance will be decreased. For example if you do a query like this


SELECT * FROM lantern_demo WHERE v <-> ARRAY[1,1,1] LIMIT 100;

You should set the hnsw.init_k to 100. So the query will become like this


SET hnsw.init_k = 100;
SELECT * FROM lantern_demo WHERE v <-> ARRAY[1,1,1] LIMIT 100;

Maximum allowed value for hnsw.init_k is 1000

hnsw.efstringdefault: 64

This is session based variable which will controll the ef parameter of your index.

This variable has priority over the ef option specified in the index creation.

If you create an index like this


CREATE INDEX ON lantern_demo USING lantern_hnsw(v) WITH (m=4, ef_construction=8, ef=16);

And do a query like this


SET hnsw.ef = 128;
SELECT * FROM lantern_demo WHERE v <-> ARRAY[1,1,1];

Your query will run with ef parameter set to 128 instead of 16.

Maximum allowed value for hnsw.ef is 400