Data Structures and Algorithms

How to Perform Universal Hashing?

In this article, I will explain How to Perform Universal Hashing.

What is Universal Hashing?

Universal hashing is a technique used in computer science and cryptography to design and implement hash functions that minimize the likelihood of collisions (i.e., when two different inputs produce the same hash value) while still maintaining good average-case performance. Universal hashing is particularly important in hash table implementations and data structures where hash functions play a critical role.

In order to perform universal hashing, follow these steps.

  1. Choose a hash function family that contains a set of hash functions. The hash function family should be universal, meaning that any two distinct keys should have an equal probability of colliding with any hash function in the family.
  2. Then, choose a hash function randomly from the family.
  3. After that, use the chosen hash function to compute the hash value of the key.
  4. Use the hash value as the index for storing or retrieving the key and its associated value in a hash table.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 for each key that needs to be hashed.

In short, by using a universal hash function family and choosing a hash function randomly for each key, universal hashing can achieve a high level of randomness and minimize the likelihood of collisions.

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