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In this paper, the authors propose the Hybrid-Layer Index (simply, the HL-index) that is designed to answer top-k queries efficiently when the queries are expressed on any arbitrary subset of attributes in the database. Compared to existing approaches, the HL-index significantly reduces the number of tuples accessed during query processing by pruning unnecessary tuples based on two criteria, i.e., it filters out tuples both globally based on the combination of all attribute values of the tuples like in the layer-based approach (simply, layer-level filtering) and based on individual attribute values specifically used for ranking the tuples like in the list-based approach (simply, list-level filtering).
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