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Vector Search Basics

The world of vector search might seem complex, but it's built upon a few straightforward components. To simplify this technology, we can break it down into two fundamental ingredients:

  • Vectors
  • A method for comparing these vectors

What are Vectors?

In essence, a vector is a list of numbers that designates a point in a specific vector space. The most common spaces that we encounter daily are two, three, or four-dimensional. For instance, in a two-dimensional space, a vector could represent a location on a map. However, it's crucial to understand that very few things naturally exist as vectors in the real world. As a result, we need an approach to convert a non-vector entity into a vector—and vice versa—to make it useful.

The Art of Vectorization

The transformation process of turning something into a vector is known as vectorization. Let's take the example of a two-dimensional vector space representing a map's positions. We could vectorize Mount Fuji into a vector using its longitude and latitude coordinates (35.3605556, 138.7275), thus representing it as a point in this two-dimensional space.

Locating something nearby would then involve finding vectors (or points) that deviate only slightly from these coordinates. However, this is a rather simplistic scenario. For more complex applications, such as locating an image based on a text description or finding relevant documents based on a question, we would need to use more sophisticated vectorization methods.

The Role of Neural Networks in Vectorization

Modern systems often rely on neural network models to carry out complex vectorization tasks. These models generate high-dimensional vectors comprising hundreds or even thousands of dimensions. Although these high-dimensional vectors don't intuitively make sense to humans, they're incredibly effective for machine learning tasks.

Selecting the best model for a specific need can be challenging. But with Vecto, you can choose from a range of pre-vetted models optimized for various tasks, simplifying this daunting task.

Understanding these fundamental principles can help you get the most out of Vecto and unlock the potential of vector search in your applications. Remember, you don't need to be a vector search expert to leverage its capabilities effectively; Vecto is here to make it accessible and practical for you.