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How to implement a Hash Table in C

Hi
can anybody tell me that which ds will be best suited to implement a
hash table in C/C++

thanx. in advanced

Aug 11 '07
139 14264

"Flash Gordon" <sp**@flash-gordon.me.ukwro te in message
news:36******** ****@news.flash-gordon.me.uk...
Malcolm McLean wrote, On 12/08/07 19:22:
>>
"Ben Bacarisse" <be********@bsb .me.ukwrote in message
news:87******* *****@bsb.me.uk ...
>>"Malcolm McLean" <re*******@btin ternet.comwrite s:

As for the derefencing null pointer, that will happen if the
constructo r fails, and return NULL. That is standard behaviour
throughout the book. If objects cannot be created, the constructing
function returns a null pointer to show they have failed.
I couldn't see another. The code has been tested, but only on two
systems (a UNIX mainframe and Windows) so that doesn't mean no errors
remain, and of course typographical errors do creep in in the process
of reformatting for print - I wish I had a tool to format source code
automaticall y but I don't. The normal thing when you an error such as
dereferenc e of a null is to say "your code derererences a null" rather
than to talk airly about "catastropi c behaviour" in an arrogant
manner.

I am sorry you do not like my tone. I have certainly got worked up
about this subject. Your fixed allocator has an error. The code
cannot return a null pointer without causing undefined behaviour.
Calm enough? You decide how seriously you categorise it.
Yes, that is another bug.
fixedallocat e should have an if(answer) before setting top to
answer->next.

So fix it and all the other reported bugs. You should also add a change
record to the book so that people know what you have fixed.
>Why not say that instead of all that vague talk about catastrophic
behaviour when the hash table gets full?

Perhaps he thought you should actually test the code in your book when you
are charging for it? Proper testing would have included filling the hash
table.
>(The other bug complaint about the code getting stuck in a loop when the
table gets full is false. Which I don't mind, we can all make mistakes,
but at least admit that you are wrong. Otherwise people wonder if you
really understand hash tables at all.)

Actually, I would say it shows that your implementation makes it harder
for people to see how the algorithm works. A decent teaching
implementation of a hash would, IMHO, include the check rather than
relying on how another non-standard (although provided) function behaves.
I'm inclined to agree. You pass in a capacity, but it would be a lot clearer
if the function explicitly rejected attempts to fill the table beyond that
capacity.

--
Free games and programming goodies.
http://www.personal.leeds.ac.uk/~bgy1mm
Aug 12 '07 #21
"Malcolm McLean" <re*******@btin ternet.comwrite s:
"Ben Bacarisse" <be********@bsb .me.ukwrote in message
news:87******** ****@bsb.me.uk. ..
>"Malcolm McLean" <re*******@btin ternet.comwrite s:
>>As for the derefencing null pointer, that will happen if the
constructor fails, and return NULL. That is standard behaviour
throughout the book. If objects cannot be created, the constructing
function returns a null pointer to show they have failed.
I couldn't see another. The code has been tested, but only on two
systems (a UNIX mainframe and Windows) so that doesn't mean no errors
remain, and of course typographical errors do creep in in the process
of reformatting for print - I wish I had a tool to format source code
automatical ly but I don't. The normal thing when you an error such as
dereference of a null is to say "your code derererences a null" rather
than to talk airly about "catastropi c behaviour" in an arrogant
manner.

I am sorry you do not like my tone. I have certainly got worked up
about this subject. Your fixed allocator has an error. The code
cannot return a null pointer without causing undefined behaviour.
Calm enough? You decide how seriously you categorise it.
Yes, that is another bug.
fixedallocate should have an if(answer) before setting top to answer->next.
Why not say that instead of all that vague talk about catastrophic
behaviour when the hash table gets full?
I am sorry that my report was not clear. I am not reacting to this
topic rationally. I find the idea if charging money for a book of
this quality hard to accept, and my anger at that has affected the
clarity of my postings.
(The other bug complaint about the code getting stuck in a loop when
the table gets full is false. Which I don't mind, we can all make
mistakes, but at least admit that you are wrong. Otherwise people
wonder if you really understand hash tables at all.)
Yes, that was my mistake. I don't think it shows your design in a
good light, however. It helps to follow a design if one can think of
the pieces separately, and the correctness of your hash functions all
rely on the allocator failing at the right point. A change to the
code to replace the allocator would break it in a mysterious way.
This kind linkage between components is not desirable and it is
particularly odd to have used it in a teaching book.

Will you accept that readers should get a refund when they see the
code you present for implementing a queue as a circular buffer?

--
Ben.
Aug 13 '07 #22
Malcolm McLean said:
>
"ravi" <dc**********@g mail.comwrote in message
news:11******** **************@ i13g2000prf.goo glegroups.com.. .
>Hi
can anybody tell me that which ds will be best suited to implement a
hash table in C/C++

thanx. in advanced
Which ds?
You can read all about hash tables in my book, Basic Algorithms. The
hash tables chapter is free.
Please don't do a navia on us, Malcolm. If your book is good enough,
other people here will recommend it when appropriate. And if it isn't
good enough, nobody here should be recommending it, least of all you.

--
Richard Heathfield <http://www.cpax.org.uk >
Email: -www. +rjh@
Google users: <http://www.cpax.org.uk/prg/writings/googly.php>
"Usenet is a strange place" - dmr 29 July 1999
Aug 13 '07 #23
CBFalconer said:
ravi wrote:
>>
can anybody tell me that which ds will be best suited to implement
a hash table in C/C++

I am not sure what your question is.
It seems pretty clear to me. But he needs to decide what language he's
writing in before he starts worrying about difficult stuff.
However, a complete, and
portable, hash table implementation under GPL
....does not answer the question, any more than "what's the best kind of
honey?" is answered by "here, have one of my honey sandwiches".

--
Richard Heathfield <http://www.cpax.org.uk >
Email: -www. +rjh@
Google users: <http://www.cpax.org.uk/prg/writings/googly.php>
"Usenet is a strange place" - dmr 29 July 1999
Aug 13 '07 #24
Malcolm McLean said:

<snip>
There are certain advantages in making the hash table length prime.
If you use quadratic probing as your collision avoidance mechanism, a
prime hash table length would seem to me to be essential, not just a
"certain advantage". If, on the other hand, you treat the hash table as
an array of collections of some kind, then I see no advantage at all to
the hash table length being prime.

A book that covers hash tables ought, at the very least, to mention
quadratic probing, and demonstrate how it can get into a cycle with
composite hash table sizes.

For example, consider a hash table with ten elements, of which elements
0, 3, 4, 5, 8 and 9 are full (which leaves elements 1, 2, 6 and 7
empty, so the table is only 60% full).

Now try to add an element at index 4, using quadratic probing, and you
will find yourself trying elements 4, 5, 8, 3, 0, 9, 0, 3, 8, 5, 4, 5,
8, 3, 0, 9, 0, 3, 8, 5, 4, 5, ... ad nauseam.

Using a prime number guarantees that you won't get into this cycle
unless the table is actually full (which you can check separately, in
advance).

Primes aren't just an advantage for quadratic probing - they're
essential.

--
Richard Heathfield <http://www.cpax.org.uk >
Email: -www. +rjh@
Google users: <http://www.cpax.org.uk/prg/writings/googly.php>
"Usenet is a strange place" - dmr 29 July 1999
Aug 13 '07 #25
Richard Heathfield wrote:
>
CBFalconer said:
ravi wrote:
>
can anybody tell me that which ds will be best suited to implement
a hash table in C/C++
I am not sure what your question is.

It seems pretty clear to me. But he needs to decide what language he's
writing in before he starts worrying about difficult stuff.
Does "ds" really mean "difficult stuff"?

--
pete
Aug 13 '07 #26
pete said:
Richard Heathfield wrote:
>>
CBFalconer said:
ravi wrote:

can anybody tell me that which ds will be best suited to implement
a hash table in C/C++

I am not sure what your question is.

It seems pretty clear to me. But he needs to decide what language
he's writing in before he starts worrying about difficult stuff.

Does "ds" really mean "difficult stuff"?
<grinPure coincidence, I'm afraid.

If he decides on C++, his answer is probably to be found in the STL. If
he chooses C, he'll just want to slap an array of objects together if
he's using linear or quadratic probing, or an array of collections
otherwise (where "collection " means something like a linked list, a
binary search tree, or maybe even another hash table).

--
Richard Heathfield <http://www.cpax.org.uk >
Email: -www. +rjh@
Google users: <http://www.cpax.org.uk/prg/writings/googly.php>
"Usenet is a strange place" - dmr 29 July 1999
Aug 13 '07 #27
On Aug 12, 6:19 pm, Ben Bacarisse <ben.use...@bsb .me.ukwrote:
"Malcolm McLean" <regniz...@btin ternet.comwrite s:
As for the derefencing null pointer, that will happen if the
constructor fails, and return NULL. That is standard behaviour
throughout the book. If objects cannot be created, the constructing
function returns a null pointer to show they have failed.
I couldn't see another. The code has been tested, but only on two
systems (a UNIX mainframe and Windows) so that doesn't mean no errors
remain, and of course typographical errors do creep in in the process
of reformatting for print - I wish I had a tool to format source code
automatically but I don't. The normal thing when you an error such as
dereference of a null is to say "your code derererences a null" rather
than to talk airly about "catastropi c behaviour" in an arrogant
manner.

I am sorry you do not like my tone. I have certainly got worked up
about this subject. Your fixed allocator has an error. The code
cannot return a null pointer without causing undefined behaviour.
Calm enough? You decide how seriously you categorise it.

I think you should fix that and the other clear errors[1] that have been
pointed out before you call other people arrogant. You say in the
introduction that bugs can be "corrected very quickly", but you don't
seem to have corrected anything.
I would suggest using splint (http://www.splint.org/) if you haven't
done so already.

Regards,
Frodo B

Aug 13 '07 #28
On Sat, 11 Aug 2007 09:29:09 +0100, Malcolm McLean wrote:
"ravi" <dc**********@g mail.comwrote in message
news:11******** **************@ i13g2000prf.goo glegroups.com.. .
>Hi
can anybody tell me that which ds will be best suited to implement a
hash table in C/C++

thanx. in advanced
Which ds?
You can read all about hash tables in my book, Basic Algorithms. The
hash tables chapter is free.
Don't bother - that book probably is the buggiest book of the
year.

Aug 13 '07 #29

"Richard Heathfield" <rj*@see.sig.in validwrote in message
news:dY******** *************** *******@bt.com. ..
Malcolm McLean said:

<snip>
>There are certain advantages in making the hash table length prime.

If you use quadratic probing as your collision avoidance mechanism, a
prime hash table length would seem to me to be essential, not just a
"certain advantage". If, on the other hand, you treat the hash table as
an array of collections of some kind, then I see no advantage at all to
the hash table length being prime.

A book that covers hash tables ought, at the very least, to mention
quadratic probing, and demonstrate how it can get into a cycle with
composite hash table sizes.

For example, consider a hash table with ten elements, of which elements
0, 3, 4, 5, 8 and 9 are full (which leaves elements 1, 2, 6 and 7
empty, so the table is only 60% full).

Now try to add an element at index 4, using quadratic probing, and you
will find yourself trying elements 4, 5, 8, 3, 0, 9, 0, 3, 8, 5, 4, 5,
8, 3, 0, 9, 0, 3, 8, 5, 4, 5, ... ad nauseam.

Using a prime number guarantees that you won't get into this cycle
unless the table is actually full (which you can check separately, in
advance).

Primes aren't just an advantage for quadratic probing - they're
essential.
The hash table chapter includes an example of quadratic probing, which does
as you say.
Maybe the primality test should be more rigorous? The worst code is that
which seems to work, then fails when someone includes it in a life-support
system.

--
Free games and programming goodies.
http://www.personal.leeds.ac.uk/~bgy1mm

Aug 13 '07 #30

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