One time when I was working on a research project, I had to find the materials within a L*a*b* color space distance. This applies to anyone who needs to find a quick way to filter through objects through a 3-dimensional distance vector. You may want to do the following but it is not recommended:
There is actually nothing wrong with this approach. What we are doing here, is that we are already using an SQL query to help us determine what we need to find. However, it just doesn’t look semantically nice, and that there should be a better way to process this. Furthermore, I had to be able to order by the distance, which in this case I was unable to.
What I did was simply to activate an extension for PostgreSQL. First, generate a migration file.
rails generate migration AddCubeExtension
Then add the following code to the migration file.
More details on the functions provided by the extension can be found here.
You will then need to add an array field of decimals/integers to the model that stores your 3d vector:
Migrate the database:
Followed by adding the following code to the model:
And now I can also order by color_distance!
In this context, the 3d vector consist of L,a and b values. We find the materials that are within the radius of
params[:max_distance] ordered by their distance from the current object that is running this method.
Using a benchmark, it seems that using cube_distance helped to increase the speed by a little:
Calculating ------------------------------------- using normal SQL 1.151k i/100ms using cube 1.130k i/100ms ------------------------------------------------- using normal SQL 28.481k (± 9.3%) i/s - 141.573k using cube 28.692k (±10.1%) i/s - 142.380k Comparison: using cube: 28692.1 i/s using normal SQL: 28480.6 i/s - 1.01x slower => #<Benchmark::IPS::Report:0x007fc84b8f5ac8 @entries=[#<Benchmark::IPS::Report::Entry:0x007fc845bf7128 @label="using normal SQL", @microseconds=5016804.6951293945, @iterations=141573, @ips=28480.570212955136, @ips_sd=2659, @measurement_cycle=1151, @show_total_time=false>, #<Benchmark::IPS::Report::Entry:0x007fc843f5e020 @label="using cube", @microseconds=5016709.804534912, @iterations=142380, @ips=28692.12437310675, @ips_sd=2904, @measurement_cycle=1130, @show_total_time=false>], @data=nil>
It seems that it doesn’t really affect the performance much. But oh well, at least I can order it by distance from a point now. Hopefully this helps anyone who is in need of a solution to a similar problem.