linear hashing

(data structure)

Definition: A dynamic hashing table that grows one slot at a time. It has a family of hash functions, hi, where the range of hi+1 is twice the range of hi. Slots below a pointer, p, have been split. That is, key, k, is in slot hi(k) if hi(k) > p. Otherwise it is in hi+1(k). To maintain the load factor, slot p can be split (rehashed with hi+1) and p incremented. When p reaches the end, the ranges are doubled (i is incremented), and p starts over.

Also known as incremental hashing.

Generalization (I am a kind of ...)
dynamic hashing.

See also linear hash, spiral storage.

Note: This is called incremental hashing in P. J. Plauger, "Hash It", ("STATE OF THE ART" column) Embedded Systems Programming, September 1998, 117-120. The article has a nearly complete implementation in C++.

Stefan Edelkamp uses "incremental hashing" to mean a hash function where subsequent characters are independent.

Author: PEB

More information

W. Litwin, Linear hashing: A new tool for file and table addressing, Proc. 6th Conference on Very Large Databases, pages 212-223, 1980.

Per-Åke Larson, Dynamic Hash Tables, CACM 31(4):446-457, April 1988.

Go to the Dictionary of Algorithms and Data Structures home page.

If you have suggestions, corrections, or comments, please get in touch with Paul Black.

Entry modified 25 July 2006.
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Cite this as:
Paul E. Black, "linear hashing", in Dictionary of Algorithms and Data Structures [online], Vreda Pieterse and Paul E. Black, eds. 25 July 2006. (accessed TODAY) Available from: