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Hash Buckets

What are Hash Buckets?

Hash Buckets, also known as hash tables or hash maps, are a powerful data structure in computing that allows for quick and efficient access to objects based on a unique key, such as a Social Security Number or account number. By using a hash function to compute an index into an array of buckets or slots, a hash table can quickly retrieve the desired value.

One key feature of hash tables is the requirement for unique keys. Each key is associated with a value, and the hash function assigns each record to the first available slot within one of the buckets. If a slot is already occupied, the bucket slots are searched sequentially until an open slot is found. If all buckets are full, the record is stored in an overflow bucket at the end of the table.

To improve performance, hash tables that use buckets are a combination of an array and a linked list. Each element in the array serves as a header for a linked list, with all elements that hash into the same location stored in the list. A good implementation will use a hash function that distributes the records evenly among the buckets, minimizing the number of records that go into the overflow bucket.

By understanding hash buckets and how they work, you can optimize your data sorting and lookup processes for faster and more efficient performance.