RAFT ANN Benchmarks#

This project provides a benchmark program for various ANN search implementations. It’s especially suitable for comparing GPU implementations as well as comparing GPU against CPU.

Installing the benchmarks#

The easiest way to install these benchmarks is through conda. We provide packages for GPU enabled systems, as well for systems without a GPU. We suggest using mamba as it generally leads to a faster install time:

mamba create --name raft_ann_benchmarks
conda activate raft_ann_benchmarks

# to install GPU package:
mamba install -c rapidsai -c conda-forge -c nvidia raft-ann-bench cuda-version=11.8*

# to install CPU package for usage in CPU-only systems:
mamba install -c rapidsai -c conda-forge  raft-ann-bench-cpu

The channel rapidsai can easily be substituted rapidsai-nightly if nightly benchmarks are desired. The CPU package currently allows to run the HNSW benchmarks.

Please see the build instructions to build the benchmarks from source.

Running the benchmarks#


There are 4 general steps to running the benchmarks and visualizing the results:

  1. Prepare Dataset

  2. Build Index and Search Index

  3. Data Export

  4. Plot Results

We provide a collection of lightweight Python scripts that are wrappers over lower level scripts and executables to run our benchmarks. Either Python scripts or low-level scripts and executables are valid methods to run benchmarks, however plots are only provided through our Python scripts.

End-to-end example: Million-scale#

The steps below demonstrate how to download, install, and run benchmarks on a subset of 10M vectors from the Yandex Deep-1B dataset By default the datasets will be stored and used from the folder indicated by the RAPIDS_DATASET_ROOT_DIR environment variable if defined, otherwise a datasets sub-folder from where the script is being called:

# (1) prepare dataset.
python -m raft-ann-bench.get_dataset --dataset deep-image-96-angular --normalize

# (2) build and search index
python -m raft-ann-bench.run --dataset deep-image-96-inner

# (3) export data
python -m raft-ann-bench.data_export --dataset deep-image-96-inner

# (4) plot results
python -m raft-ann-bench.plot --dataset deep-image-96-inner

Configuration files already exist for the following list of the million-scale datasets. Please refer to ann-benchmarks datasets for more information, including actual train and sizes. These all work out-of-the-box with the --dataset argument. Other million-scale datasets from ann-benchmarks.com will work, but will require a json configuration file to be created in $CONDA_PREFIX/lib/python3.xx/site-packages/raft-ann-bench/run/conf, or you can specify the --configuration option to use a specific file.

  • deep-image-96-angular

  • fashion-mnist-784-euclidean

  • glove-50-angular

  • glove-100-angular

  • lastfm-65-angular

  • mnist-784-euclidean

  • nytimes-256-angular

  • sift-128-euclidean

End-to-end example: Billion-scale#

raft-ann-bench.get_dataset cannot be used to download the billion-scale datasets because they are so large. You should instead use our billion-scale datasets guide to download and prepare them. All other python mentioned below work as intended once the billion-scale dataset has been downloaded. To download Billion-scale datasets, visit big-ann-benchmarks

The steps below demonstrate how to download, install, and run benchmarks on a subset of 100M vectors from the Yandex Deep-1B dataset. Please note that datasets of this scale are recommended for GPUs with larger amounts of memory, such as the A100 or H100.

mkdir -p datasets/deep-1B
# (1) prepare dataset
# download manually "Ground Truth" file of "Yandex DEEP"
# suppose the file name is deep_new_groundtruth.public.10K.bin
python -m raft-ann-bench.split_groundtruth --groundtruth datasets/deep-1B/deep_new_groundtruth.public.10K.bin
# two files 'groundtruth.neighbors.ibin' and 'groundtruth.distances.fbin' should be produced

# (2) build and search index
python -m raft-ann-bench.run --dataset deep-1B

# (3) export data
python -m raft-ann-bench.data_export --dataset deep-1B

# (4) plot results
python -m raft-ann-bench.plot --dataset deep-1B

The usage of python -m raft-ann-bench.split_groundtruth is:

usage: split_groundtruth.py [-h] --groundtruth GROUNDTRUTH

  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  --groundtruth GROUNDTRUTH
                        Path to billion-scale dataset groundtruth file (default: None)

Step 1: Prepare Dataset#

The script raft-ann-bench.get_dataset will download and unpack the dataset in directory that the user provides. As of now, only million-scale datasets are supported by this script. For more information on datasets and formats.

The usage of this script is:

usage: get_dataset.py [-h] [--name NAME] [--dataset-path DATASET_PATH] [--normalize]

  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  --dataset DATASET     dataset to download (default: glove-100-angular)
  --dataset-path DATASET_PATH
                        path to download dataset (default: ${RAPIDS_DATASET_ROOT_DIR})
  --normalize           normalize cosine distance to inner product (default: False)

When option normalize is provided to the script, any dataset that has cosine distances will be normalized to inner product. So, for example, the dataset glove-100-angular will be written at location datasets/glove-100-inner/.

Step 2: Build and Search Index#

The script raft-ann-bench.run will build and search indices for a given dataset and its specified configuration. To confirgure which algorithms are available, we use algos.yaml. To configure building/searching indices for a dataset, look at index configuration. An entry in algos.yaml looks like:

  executable: RAFT_IVF_PQ_ANN_BENCH
  requires_gpu: true

executable : specifies the name of the binary that will build/search the index. It is assumed to be available in raft/cpp/build/. requires_gpu : denotes whether an algorithm requires GPU to run.

The usage of the script raft-ann-bench.run is:

usage: run.py [-h] [-k COUNT] [-bs BATCH_SIZE] [--configuration CONFIGURATION] [--dataset DATASET] [--dataset-path DATASET_PATH] [--build] [--search] [--algorithms ALGORITHMS] [--indices INDICES]

  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  -k COUNT, --count COUNT
                        the number of nearest neighbors to search for (default: 10)
  -bs BATCH_SIZE, --batch-size BATCH_SIZE
                        number of query vectors to use in each query trial (default: 10000)
  --configuration CONFIGURATION
                        path to configuration file for a dataset (default: None)
  --dataset DATASET     dataset whose configuration file will be used (default: glove-100-inner)
  --dataset-path DATASET_PATH
                        path to dataset folder (default: ${RAPIDS_DATASET_ROOT_DIR})
  --algorithms ALGORITHMS
                        run only comma separated list of named algorithms (default: None)
  --indices INDICES     run only comma separated list of named indices. parameter `algorithms` is ignored (default: None)
  -f, --force           re-run algorithms even if their results already exist (default: False)

configuration and dataset : configuration is a path to a configuration file for a given dataset. The configuration file should be name as <dataset>.json. It is optional if the name of the dataset is provided with the dataset argument, in which case a configuration file will be searched for as python/raft-ann-bench/src/raft-ann-bench/run/conf/<dataset>.json. For every algorithm run by this script, it outputs an index build statistics JSON file in <dataset-path/<dataset>/result/build/<algo-k{k}-batch_size{batch_size}.json> and an index search statistics JSON file in <dataset-path/<dataset>/result/search/<algo-k{k}-batch_size{batch_size}.json>.

dataset-path :

  1. data is read from <dataset-path>/<dataset>

  2. indices are built in <dataset-path>/<dataset>/index

  3. build/search results are stored in <dataset-path>/<dataset>/result

build and search : if both parameters are not supplied to the script then it is assumed both are True.

indices and algorithms : these parameters ensure that the algorithm specified for an index is available in algos.yaml and not disabled, as well as having an associated executable.

Step 3: Data Export#

The script raft-ann-bench.data_export will convert the intermediate JSON outputs produced by raft-ann-bench.run to more easily readable CSV files, which are needed to build charts made by raft-ann-bench.plot.

usage: data_export.py [-h] [--dataset DATASET] [--dataset-path DATASET_PATH]

  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  --dataset DATASET     dataset to download (default: glove-100-inner)
  --dataset-path DATASET_PATH
                        path to dataset folder (default: ${RAPIDS_DATASET_ROOT_DIR})

Build statistics CSV file is stored in <dataset-path/<dataset>/result/build/<algo-k{k}-batch_size{batch_size}.csv> and index search statistics CSV file in <dataset-path/<dataset>/result/search/<algo-k{k}-batch_size{batch_size}.csv>.

Step 4: Plot Results#

The script raft-ann-bench.plot will plot results for all algorithms found in index search statistics CSV file in <dataset-path/<dataset>/result/search/<-k{k}-batch_size{batch_size}>.csv.

The usage of this script is:

usage: plot.py [-h] [--dataset DATASET] [--dataset-path DATASET_PATH] [--output-filepath OUTPUT_FILEPATH] [--algorithms ALGORITHMS] [-k COUNT] [-bs BATCH_SIZE] [--build] [--search]
               [--x-scale X_SCALE] [--y-scale {linear,log,symlog,logit}] [--raw]

  -h, --help            show this help message and exit
  --dataset DATASET     dataset to download (default: glove-100-inner)
  --dataset-path DATASET_PATH
                        path to dataset folder (default: ${RAPIDS_DATASET_ROOT_DIR})
  --output-filepath OUTPUT_FILEPATH
                        directory for PNG to be saved (default: os.getcwd())
  --algorithms ALGORITHMS
                        plot only comma separated list of named algorithms (default: None)
  -k COUNT, --count COUNT
                        the number of nearest neighbors to search for (default: 10)
  -bs BATCH_SIZE, --batch-size BATCH_SIZE
                        number of query vectors to use in each query trial (default: 10000)
  --x-scale X_SCALE     Scale to use when drawing the X-axis. Typically linear, logit or a2 (default: linear)
  --y-scale {linear,log,symlog,logit}
                        Scale to use when drawing the Y-axis (default: linear)
  --raw                 Show raw results (not just Pareto frontier) in faded colours (default: False)

The figure below is the resulting plot of running our benchmarks as of August 2023 for a batch size of 10, on an NVIDIA H100 GPU and an Intel Xeon Platinum 8480CL CPU. It presents the throughput (in Queries-Per-Second) performance for every level of recall.

Throughput vs recall plot comparing popular ANN algorithms with RAFT's at batch size 10

Creating and customizing dataset configurations#

A single configuration file will often define a set of algorithms, with associated index and search parameters, for a specific dataset. A configuration file uses json format with 4 major parts:

  1. Dataset information

  2. Algorithm information

  3. Index parameters

  4. Search parameters

Below is a simple example configuration file for the 1M-scale sift-128-euclidean dataset:

  "dataset": {
    "name": "sift-128-euclidean",
    "base_file": "sift-128-euclidean/base.fbin",
    "query_file": "sift-128-euclidean/query.fbin", 
    "subset_size": 1000000,
    "groundtruth_neighbors_file": "sift-128-euclidean/groundtruth.neighbors.ibin",
    "distance": "euclidean"
  "index": []

The index section will contain a list of index objects, each of which will have the following form:

   "name": "algo_name.unique_index_name",
   "algo": "algo_name",
   "file": "sift-128-euclidean/algo_name/param1_val1-param2_val2",
   "build_param": { "param1": "val1", "param2": "val2" },
   "search_params": [{ "search_param1": "search_val1" }]

The table below contains the possible settings for the algo field. Each unique algorithm will have its own set of build_param and search_params settings. The ANN Algorithm Parameter Tuning Guide contains detailed instructions on choosing build and search parameters for each supported algorithm.

Library Algorithms
FAISS faiss_gpu_ivf_flat, faiss_gpu_ivf_pq
GGNN ggnn
HNSWlib hnswlib
RAFT raft_cagra, raft_ivf_flat, raft_ivf_pq

By default, the index will be placed in bench/ann/data/<dataset_name>/index/<name>. Using sift-128-euclidean for the dataset with the algo example above, the indexes would be placed in bench/ann/data/sift-128-euclidean/index/algo_name/param1_val1-param2_val2.

Adding a new ANN algorithm#

Implementation and Configuration#

Implementation of a new algorithm should be a C++ class that inherits class ANN (defined in cpp/bench/ann/src/ann.h) and implements all the pure virtual functions.

In addition, it should define two structs for building and searching parameters. The searching parameter class should inherit struct ANN<T>::AnnSearchParam. Take class HnswLib as an example, its definition is:

template<typename T>
class HnswLib : public ANN<T> {
  struct BuildParam {
    int M;
    int ef_construction;
    int num_threads;

  using typename ANN<T>::AnnSearchParam;
  struct SearchParam : public AnnSearchParam {
    int ef;
    int num_threads;

  // ...

The benchmark program uses JSON format in a configuration file to specify indexes to build, along with the build and search parameters. To add the new algorithm to the benchmark, need be able to specify build_param, whose value is a JSON object, and search_params, whose value is an array of JSON objects, for this algorithm in configuration file. The build_param and search_param arguments will vary depending on the algorithm. Take the configuration for HnswLib as an example:

  "name" : "hnswlib.M12.ef500.th32",
  "algo" : "hnswlib",
  "build_param": {"M":12, "efConstruction":500, "numThreads":32},
  "file" : "/path/to/file",
  "search_params" : [
    {"ef":10, "numThreads":1},
    {"ef":20, "numThreads":1},
    {"ef":40, "numThreads":1},
  "search_result_file" : "/path/to/file"

How to interpret these JSON objects is totally left to the implementation and should be specified in cpp/bench/ann/src/factory.cuh:

  1. First, add two functions for parsing JSON object to struct BuildParam and struct SearchParam, respectively:

    template<typename T>
    void parse_build_param(const nlohmann::json& conf,
                           typename cuann::HnswLib<T>::BuildParam& param) {
      param.ef_construction = conf.at("efConstruction");
      param.M = conf.at("M");
      if (conf.contains("numThreads")) {
        param.num_threads = conf.at("numThreads");
    template<typename T>
    void parse_search_param(const nlohmann::json& conf,
                            typename cuann::HnswLib<T>::SearchParam& param) {
      param.ef = conf.at("ef");
      if (conf.contains("numThreads")) {
        param.num_threads = conf.at("numThreads");
  2. Next, add corresponding if case to functions create_algo() (in cpp/bench/ann/) and create_search_param()by calling parsing functions. The string literal inifcondition statement must be the same as the value ofalgo` in configuration file. For example,

      // JSON configuration file contains a line like:  "algo" : "hnswlib"
      if (algo == "hnswlib") {
         // ...

Adding a CMake Target#

In raft/cpp/bench/ann/CMakeLists.txt, we provide a CMake function to configure a new Benchmark target with the following signature:

  NAME <algo_name> 
  PATH </path/to/algo/benchmark/source/file> 
  INCLUDES <additional_include_directories> 
  CXXFLAGS <additional_cxx_flags>
  LINKS <additional_link_library_targets>

To add a target for HNSWLIB, we would call the function as:

  NAME HNSWLIB PATH bench/ann/src/hnswlib/hnswlib_benchmark.cpp INCLUDES
  ${CMAKE_CURRENT_BINARY_DIR}/_deps/hnswlib-src/hnswlib CXXFLAGS "${HNSW_CXX_FLAGS}"

This will create an executable called HNSWLIB_ANN_BENCH, which can then be used to run HNSWLIB benchmarks.