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Build AI-powered semantic search applications

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txtai executes machine-learning workflows to transform data and build AI-powered semantic search applications.


Traditional search systems use keywords to find data. Semantic search applications have an understanding of natural language and identify results that have the same meaning, not necessarily the same keywords.

search search

Backed by state-of-the-art machine learning models, data is transformed into vector representations for search (also known as embeddings). Innovation is happening at a rapid pace, models can understand concepts in documents, audio, images and video.

Summary of txtai features:

  • πŸ”Ž Large-scale similarity search with multiple index backends (Faiss, Annoy, Hnswlib) and support for external vector databases
  • πŸ“„ Create embeddings for text snippets, documents, audio, images and video
  • πŸ’‘ Machine-learning pipelines that run question-answering, labeling, transcription, translation, summarization, LLM prompts and more
  • β†ͺ️️ Workflows to join pipelines together and aggregate business logic. txtai processes can be microservices or full-fledged indexing workflows.
  • βš™οΈ Build with Python or YAML. API bindings available for JavaScript, Java, Rust and Go.
  • ☁️ Cloud-native architecture that scales out with container orchestration systems (e.g. Kubernetes)

Applications range from similarity search to NLP-driven data extractions that generate structured data. Semantic workflows transform and find data driven by user intent.

flows flows

The following applications are powered by txtai.


Application Description
paperai Semantic search and workflows for medical/scientific papers
codequestion Semantic search for developers
tldrstory Semantic search for headlines and story text
neuspo Fact-driven, real-time sports event and news site

txtai is built with Python 3.7+, Hugging Face Transformers, Sentence Transformers and FastAPI

Why txtai?

why why

In addition to traditional search systems, a growing number of semantic search solutions are available, so why txtai?

  • Up and running in minutes with pip or Docker
# Get started in a couple lines
from txtai.embeddings import Embeddings

embeddings = Embeddings({"path": "sentence-transformers/all-MiniLM-L6-v2"})
embeddings.index([(0, "Correct", None), (1, "Not what we hoped", None)])"positive", 1)
#[(0, 0.2986203730106354)]
  • Build applications in your programming language of choice via the API
# app.yml
    path: sentence-transformers/all-MiniLM-L6-v2
CONFIG=app.yml uvicorn "txtai.api:app"
curl -X GET "http://localhost:8000/search?query=positive"
  • Connect machine learning models together to build intelligent data processing workflows
  • Works with both small and big data - scale when needed
  • Supports micromodels all the way up to large language models (LLMs)
  • Low footprint - install additional dependencies when you need them
  • Learn by example - notebooks cover all available functionality


install install

The easiest way to install is via pip and PyPI

pip install txtai

Python 3.7+ is supported. Using a Python virtual environment is recommended.

See the detailed install instructions for more information covering optional dependencies, environment specific prerequisites, installing from source, conda support and how to run with containers.


examples examples

The examples directory has a series of notebooks and applications giving an overview of txtai. See the sections below.

Semantic Search

Build semantic/similarity/vector/neural search applications.

Notebook Description
Introducing txtai ▢️ Overview of the functionality provided by txtai Open In Colab
Build an Embeddings index with Hugging Face Datasets Index and search Hugging Face Datasets Open In Colab
Build an Embeddings index from a data source Index and search a data source with word embeddings Open In Colab
Add semantic search to Elasticsearch Add semantic search to existing search systems Open In Colab
Similarity search with images Embed images and text into the same space for search Open In Colab
Distributed embeddings cluster Distribute an embeddings index across multiple data nodes Open In Colab
What's new in txtai 4.0 Content storage, SQL, object storage, reindex and compressed indexes Open In Colab
Anatomy of a txtai index Deep dive into the file formats behind a txtai embeddings index Open In Colab
Custom Embeddings SQL functions Add user-defined functions to Embeddings SQL Open In Colab
Model explainability Explainability for semantic search Open In Colab
Query translation Domain-specific natural language queries with query translation Open In Colab
Build a QA database Question matching with semantic search Open In Colab
Embeddings components Composable search with vector, SQL and scoring components Open In Colab
Semantic Graphs Explore topics, data connectivity and run network analysis Open In Colab
Topic Modeling with BM25 Topic modeling backed by a BM25 index Open In Colab
Prompt-driven search with LLMs Embeddings-guided and Prompt-driven search with Large Language Models (LLMs) Open In Colab
Embeddings in the Cloud Load and use an embeddings index from the Hugging Face Hub Open In Colab


Transform data with NLP-backed pipelines.

Notebook Description
Extractive QA with txtai Introduction to extractive question-answering with txtai Open In Colab
Extractive QA with Elasticsearch Run extractive question-answering queries with Elasticsearch Open In Colab
Extractive QA to build structured data Build structured datasets using extractive question-answering Open In Colab
Apply labels with zero shot classification Use zero shot learning for labeling, classification and topic modeling Open In Colab
Building abstractive text summaries Run abstractive text summarization Open In Colab
Extract text from documents Extract text from PDF, Office, HTML and more Open In Colab
Text to speech generation Generate speech from text Open In Colab
Transcribe audio to text Convert audio files to text Open In Colab
Translate text between languages Streamline machine translation and language detection Open In Colab
Generate image captions and detect objects Captions and object detection for images Open In Colab
Near duplicate image detection Identify duplicate and near-duplicate images Open In Colab
API Gallery Using txtai in JavaScript, Java, Rust and Go Open In Colab


Efficiently process data at scale.

Notebook Description
Run pipeline workflows ▢️ Simple yet powerful constructs to efficiently process data Open In Colab
Transform tabular data with composable workflows Transform, index and search tabular data Open In Colab
Tensor workflows Performant processing of large tensor arrays Open In Colab
Entity extraction workflows Identify entity/label combinations Open In Colab
Workflow Scheduling Schedule workflows with cron expressions Open In Colab
Push notifications with workflows Generate and push notifications with workflows Open In Colab
Pictures are a worth a thousand words Generate webpage summary images with DALL-E mini Open In Colab
Run txtai with native code Execute workflows in native code with the Python C API Open In Colab
Prompt templates and task chains Build model prompts and connect tasks together with workflows Open In Colab

Model Training

Train NLP models.

Notebook Description
Train a text labeler Build text sequence classification models Open In Colab
Train without labels Use zero-shot classifiers to train new models Open In Colab
Train a QA model Build and fine-tune question-answering models Open In Colab
Train a language model from scratch Build new language models Open In Colab
Export and run models with ONNX Export models with ONNX, run natively in JavaScript, Java and Rust Open In Colab
Export and run other machine learning models Export and run models from scikit-learn, PyTorch and more Open In Colab


Series of example applications with txtai. Links to hosted versions on Hugging Face Spaces also provided.

Application Description
Basic similarity search Basic similarity search example. Data from the original txtai demo. πŸ€—
Book search Book similarity search application. Index book descriptions and query using natural language statements. Local run only
Image search Image similarity search application. Index a directory of images and run searches to identify images similar to the input query. πŸ€—
Summarize an article Summarize an article. Workflow that extracts text from a webpage and builds a summary. πŸ€—
Wiki search Wikipedia search application. Queries Wikipedia API and summarizes the top result. πŸ€—
Workflow builder Build and execute txtai workflows. Connect summarization, text extraction, transcription, translation and similarity search pipelines together to run unified workflows. πŸ€—


Full documentation on txtai including configuration settings for pipelines, workflows, indexing and the API.

Further Reading



For those who would like to contribute to txtai, please see this guide.