Haystack: Enhancing OpenSearch with AI-based Semantic Search

How to use Haystack to augment OpenSearch for AI-based semantic search.
Chike Agbai
April 2, 2023
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Haystack: Enhancing OpenSearch with AI-based Semantic Search

Haystack can be used to enhance OpenSearch results by adding the ability to perform semantic searches. However, it's important to consider the strengths of both OpenSearch and Haystack when choosing the best solution for your needs. If semantic search is important, Haystack can provide valuable enhancements. But if text-based searches with complexities are a priority, keeping OpenSearch as the core solution and augmenting it with Haystack may be the most effective choice.

OpenSearch is a widely used search engine, but it may not always meet the specific needs of a company. In situations where a more advanced search feature is required, Haystack can be used as an augmenting solution. You can read more on the Haystack project here.

Elasticsearch vs OpenSearch with Haystack

OpenSearch is a search engine technology used to provide fast and relevant search results. It's often used by companies to search through large amounts of data quickly and efficiently.

Elasticsearch, on the other hand, is a highly scalable open source search and analytics engine. It's commonly used for full-text search, structured search, analytics, and logging.

Additionally, the paid version of Elasticsearch provides various features that OpenSearch doesn't, such as distributed search, multi-tenancy, and real-time search. It also has a more flexible architecture, allowing for the creation of custom plugins and integrations with other systems.

With that said, there may be several reasons why someone would choose OpenSearch over Elasticsearch:

  1. Cost: OpenSearch may be a more cost-effective solution for organizations that do not require the extensive features and capabilities offered by Elasticsearch.
  2. Ease of use: OpenSearch may be simpler and easier to use for organizations with limited technical resources. It may also have a more straightforward setup process compared to Elasticsearch.
  3. Specific requirements: OpenSearch may be sufficient for organizations with specific, limited search requirements that can be met by the standalone search engine.
  4. Integration: OpenSearch may already be integrated with existing systems and data sources, making it a more convenient solution for organizations that do not want to go through the process of integrating a new technology.

It's important to note that the best choice between OpenSearch and Elasticsearch depends on the specific needs and requirements of the organization. For organizations with more complex search and analytical needs, Elasticsearch may be the better choice, while OpenSearch may be a more appropriate solution for organizations with simpler search requirements where they can augment it with something else like Haystack when necessary.

Double-click on OpenSearch for Semantic Search

OpenSearch performs text-based searches. It allows for searching through large amounts of data for specific keywords and phrases, and returns results based on the relevance of those keywords and phrases to the search query.

OpenSearch uses algorithms to rank the results based on factors such as the frequency of the keywords in the results and their proximity to each other. However, OpenSearch does not have the capability to understand the meaning or context of the search query, so it cannot provide results based on the user's intent.

OpenSearch performs basic text-based searches and returns results based on keyword matching and relevance ranking, but does not have the capability to handle more advanced searches such as semantic search.

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Enter Haystack for Semantic Search

Haystack is an open source solution for AI-based search that provides enhanced results compared to OpenSearch. One of its key benefits is its ability to perform semantic searches, which take into account the meaning behind the words in a query. This is particularly useful in situations where the search has some complexities, such as GPS coordinates.

Haystack provides capabilities for semantic search, which involves understanding the meaning and context of the search query and matching it with the most relevant results. Haystack is built on top of a large language model and allows for sophisticated searches that go beyond simple keyword matching. It provides advanced features such as spell correction, synonym matching, and query expansion, which improve the overall search experience.

Haystack can be used to augment OpenSearch and enhance its search capabilities, especially in cases where OpenSearch alone cannot meet the needs of the organization's users. By using Haystack, organizations can add semantic search capabilities to their existing OpenSearch setup and provide a more sophisticated search experience that includes results based on the user's intent.

Haystack vs ChatGPT for Search

Haystack is built on top of a large language model, which is a statistical model trained on a massive dataset of text. The language model is designed to understand the meaning and context of natural language and generate text that is coherent and semantically meaningful.

The language model used by Haystack is trained on a diverse corpus of text and uses deep learning techniques to identify patterns and relationships in the data. This enables the model to generate predictions about the meaning and context of new text inputs, such as search queries, and match them with the most relevant results.

The language model is a crucial component of Haystack, as it provides the semantic understanding necessary for advanced search capabilities, including spell correction, synonym matching, and query expansion. By leveraging this model, Haystack can provide a sophisticated search experience that goes beyond simple keyword matching and returns results based on the user's intent.

The size of the language model used by Haystack can vary, as it depends on the specific implementation and the training data used. However, large language models such as those used in modern AI-based search solutions typically have hundreds of millions or billions of parameters.

These models are trained on massive amounts of text data, which can range from hundreds of gigabytes to several terabytes. The size of the model and the training data directly impact the model's performance and ability to generate accurate predictions.

In general, larger language models have the potential to provide better results and performance, as they have been trained on more diverse data and have the capacity to identify and understand complex relationships in the data. However, larger models also require more computing resources and may be more challenging to manage and deploy in production environments.

Haystack's language model is smaller in size and scope compared to the OpenAI's GPT-3 (Generative Pretrained Transformer 3) language model.

GPT-3 is one of the largest language models to date, with over 175 billion parameters. It has been trained on a diverse range of text data and can perform a wide variety of natural language processing tasks, including text generation, question answering, and language translation.

In contrast, Haystack's language model today can be focused on a specific set of tasks related to AI-based search and is optimized for that particular use case. From our perspective it aligns with one of the core features of great language model use cases:  domain specific and task driven.  While it may not have the same generality or versatility as GPT-3, it is likely still highly effective at its targeted use case of enhancing OpenSearch with semantic search capabilities.

While Haystack's language model is not directly comparable to GPT-3 in terms of size and scope, it is likely highly effective at its targeted use case of enhancing OpenSearch with semantic search capabilities.

Don't Rip out OpenSearch for Semantic Search

While it may be tempting to replace OpenSearch with another solution, it's important to consider its strengths, such as its ability to handle complex text-based searches. In these cases, augmenting OpenSearch with Haystack can be a more effective solution. This was the case for Facebook's Meta search feature, where the core solution was effective but had limitations. By using Haystack, the search results were greatly improved. You can read more here on how we used Haystack to create better semantic search result for Facebook supplier searches.

Haystack can be used to enhance OpenSearch results by adding the ability to perform semantic searches. However, it's important to consider the strengths of both OpenSearch and Haystack when choosing the best solution for your needs. If semantic search is important, Haystack can provide valuable enhancements. But if text-based searches with complexities are a priority, keeping OpenSearch as the core solution and augmenting it with Haystack may be the most effective choice.