load factor


Definition: The number of elements in a hash table divided by the number of slots. Usually written α (alpha).

Note: The higher the load factor, the slower the retrieval. With open addressing, the load factor cannot exceed 1. With chaining, the load factor often exceeds 1. After [CLR90, page 224].

Author: PEB

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Entry modified 17 December 2004.
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Cite this as:
Paul E. Black, "load factor", in Dictionary of Algorithms and Data Structures [online], Vreda Pieterse and Paul E. Black, eds. 17 December 2004. (accessed TODAY) Available from: