STOC 1977
Conference paper

Universal classes of hash functions

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This paper gives an input independent average linear time algorithm for storage and retrieval on keys. The algorithm makes a random choice of hash function from a suitable class of hash functions. Given any sequence of inputs the expected time (averaging over all functions in the class) to store and retrieve elements is linear in the length of the sequence. The number of references to the data base required by the algorithm for any input is extremely close to the theoretical minimum for any possible hash function with randomly distributed inputs. We present three suitable classes of hash functions which also may be evaluated rapidly. The ability to analyze the cost of storage and retrieval without worrying about the distribution of the input allows as corollaries improvements on the bounds of several algorithms.


04 May 1977


STOC 1977