JavaScript engines inside modern web browsers are capable of running sophisticated multi-player games, rendering impressive 3D scenes, and supporting complex, interactive visualizations. Can this processing power be harnessed for information retrieval?

JScene (pronounced Jay-Scene, rhymes with Lucene) explores the feasibility of building a JavaScript search engine that runs completely self-contained on the client side within the browser—this includes building the inverted index, gathering terms statistics for scoring, and performing query evaluation. The design takes advantage of the IndexDB API, which is implemented by the LevelDB key-value store inside Google's Chrome browser.

Experiments show that although the performance of the JavaScript prototype falls far short of the open-source Lucene search engine, it is sufficiently responsive for interactive applications. This feasibility demonstration opens the door to interesting applications and architectures.

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