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PostgreSQL version: 9.6.1

Hippo is a fast, yet scalable, sparse database indexing approach. In contrast to existing tree index structures, Hippo avoids storing a pointer to each tuple in the indexed table to reduce the storage space occupied by the index. Hippo only stores disk page ranges that represent the indexed database table and maintains histogram-based summaries for the page ranges. The summaries are brief histograms which represent the data distribution of one or more pages. The main contributions of Hippo are as follows:

  • Low Indexing Overhead

  • Competitive Query Performance

  • Fast Index Maintenance

Play around with Hippo index

For the ease of testing, we have implemented Hippo index into PostgreSQL kernel as one of the backend access methods. This verision has been tested on Ubuntu Linux LTS 14.04.

Download the source code

$ git clone

Build and Installation

Once you've synced with GitHub, the folder should contain the source code for PostgreSQL. The build and installation steps are exactly same with official PostgreSQL.

$ cd SourceFolder
$ ./configure
$ make
$ su
$ make install
$ adduser postgres
$ mkdir /usr/local/pgsql/data
$ chown postgres /usr/local/pgsql/data
$ su - postgres
$ /usr/local/pgsql/bin/initdb -D /usr/local/pgsql/data
$ /usr/local/pgsql/bin/postgres -D /usr/local/pgsql/data >logfile 2>&1 &
$ /usr/local/pgsql/bin/createdb test
$ /usr/local/pgsql/bin/psql test

You may need to install some required packages to pass the installation if use Ubuntu 14.04. Please try the following command:

$ sudo apt-get install build-essential libreadline-dev zlib1g-dev flex bison libxml2-dev libxslt-dev libssl-dev

PostgreSQL Regression Test

After the installation, you have to make sure the source code on your machine pass all the PostgreSQL Regression Tests (168 in total).

$ cd SourceFolder

$ make check

Usage in SQL

Here list some SQL commands of Hippo index. For more details, please see the following Hippo index test SQL script:

./src/test/regress/sql/hippo.sql (Default)


Build Hippo


ANALYZE hippo_tbl;

CREATE INDEX hippo_idx ON hippo_tbl USING hippo(randomNumber) WITH (density = 20);

Query Hippo

SELECT * FROM hippo_tbl WHERE randomNumber > 1000 AND randomNumber < 2000;

Insert new records into Hippo

INSERT INTO hippo_tbl ... ... ...;

Delete old records from Hippo

DELETE FROM hippo_tbl WHERE randomNumber > 1000 AND randomNumber < 2000;


Drop Hippo

DROP INDEX hippo_idx;

Currently supported data type


Currently supported operator

<, <=, =, >=, >


Please read Hippo index test SQL script for some examples.

  • Read and change Hippo index test SQL script:
./src/test/regress/sql/hippo.sql (Default)

  • View Hippo index test SQL script output:
./src/test/regress/results/hippo.out (Default)


Hippo Tutorial

Step-by-step video

Want to have a try? Do not hesitate!

Watch this video (No need for headsets) and learn how to get started: Hippo Video Tutorial (on remote computer) or Hippo Video Tutorial (on Youtube).

Video Demonstration using Hippo-Spatial

Watch this demo video presented in ICDE 2017 to know how we use Hippo-Spatial to build a map application - ICDE2017 demo.

Talk in VLDB2017

Watch this presentation video to grasp the core concepts of Hippo - VLDB2017 presentation.


  • Jia Yu, Mohamed Sarwat. Indexing the pickup and drop-off locations of NYC taxi trips in PostgreSQL - lessons from the road (Research paper) (PDF) In Proceedings of the International Symposium on Advances in Spatial and Temporal Databases, SSTD 2017, Washington D.C., USA, August 2017

  • Jia Yu, Raha Moraffah, Mohamed Sarwat. Hippo in Action: Scalable Indexing of a Billion New York City Taxi Trips and Beyond (Demo paper) (PDF) In Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Data Engineering, ICDE 2017, San Diego, CA, USA, April 2017

  • Jia Yu, Mohamed Sarwat. Two Birds, One Stone: A Fast, yet Lightweight, Indexing Scheme for Modern Database Systems (Research paper) (PDF) In proceedings of the Very Large Data Bases Endowment, PVLDB 2016, Volume 10, Issue 4. To be presented in VLDB 2017, Munich, Germany, August 2017



DataSys Lab

Hippo index is one of the projects under DataSys Lab at Arizona State University. The mission of DataSys Lab is designing and developing experimental data management systems (e.g., database systems).

PostgreSQL Database Management System

This directory contains the source code distribution of the PostgreSQL database management system.

PostgreSQL is an advanced object-relational database management system that supports an extended subset of the SQL standard, including transactions, foreign keys, subqueries, triggers, user-defined types and functions. This distribution also contains C language bindings.

PostgreSQL has many language interfaces, many of which are listed here:

See the file INSTALL for instructions on how to build and install PostgreSQL. That file also lists supported operating systems and hardware platforms and contains information regarding any other software packages that are required to build or run the PostgreSQL system. Copyright and license information can be found in the file COPYRIGHT. A comprehensive documentation set is included in this distribution; it can be read as described in the installation instructions.

The latest version of this software may be obtained at For more information look at our web site located at