While I know that the performance did not skyrocket with Lucene 4.0 I finally came around to find out why. Unfortunately the field compression technique applied in Lucene 4.x compresses each and every stored field … and decompresses it upon access. This makes up for a nice overhead when reading the index in a linear way, which is excactly one of the main methods of LIRE.
The image shows a screen shot of the CPU sampler in VisualVM. 58.7% of the CPU time go to the LZ4 decompression routine. Thatâ€™s quite a lot and makes a huge difference for search. If anyone has a workaround of sort, Iâ€™d be happy ðŸ™‚
Update (2021-07-03): With the great help of the people from the lucene-user list I found at least a speed-up. In the current SVN version, there is a nove LireCustomCodec for stored fields, which speeds up decompression a lot. Moreover there is now an in-memory caching approach implemented in the GeneriecFastImageSearcher class, which is turned off by default, but speeds up search time (as a trade off for memory and init time) by holding image features in-memory. It has been tested with up to 1.5M images.