FirstGov's FAST search engine to get faster

To speed responses to FirstGov site visitors, the General Services Administration will update the portal's search engine software from Fast Search & Transfer, a Norwegian vendor with U.S. headquarters in Boston.

FAST ESP, announced late last month, indexes structured or unstructured content in 77 languages, 225 formats and 30 character sets, converting them to Extensible Markup Language for swifter retrieval, FAST technical director Nate Treloar said.

The engine has an open-application programming interface for database connection. FAST ESP runs under Microsoft Windows 2003 and 2000, Red Hat Linux Enterprise 2.1, Sun Microsystems Solaris 8, IBM AIX 5.1 and 5.2, and HP-UX 11.

The software on a single commodity server can search a million pages in less than a second, Treloar said.

Treloar estimated the maximum indexed content per server would be about 100G. Some agencies have looked at the original version of FAST for searching their content and forming a conceptual index across multiple repositories, he said.

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