2 releases

0.1.1 Nov 15, 2023
0.1.0 Nov 15, 2023

#194 in Science

MIT license



PTRHash is a fast and space efficient minimal perfect hash function that maps a list of n distinct keys into [n]. It is an adaptation of PTHash, and written in Rust.

I'm keeping a blogpost with remarks, ideas, implementation notes, and experiments at https://curiouscoding.nl/posts/ptrhash.


Feel free to make issues and/or PRs, reach out on twitter @curious_coding, or on matrix @curious_coding:matrix.org.


PTRHash supports up to $2^40$ keys. For default parameters $\alpha = 0.98$, $c=9$, constructing a MPHF of $n=10^9$ integer keys gives:

  • Construction takes 19s on my i7-10750H (3.6GHz) using 6 threads:
    • 5s to sort hashes,
    • 12s to find pilots.
  • Memory usage is 2.69bits/key:
    • 2.46bits/key for pilots,
    • 0.24bits/key for remapping.
  • Queries take:
    • 18ns/key when indexing sequentially,
    • 8.2ns/key when streaming with prefetching,
    • 2.9ns/key when streaming with prefetching, using 4 threads.
  • When giving up on minimality of the hash and allowing values up to $n/\alpha$, query times slightly improve:
    • 14ns/key when indexing sequentially,
    • 7.5ns/key when streaming using prefetching,
    • 2.8ns/key when streaming with prefetching, using 4 threads.

Query throughput per thread fully saturates the prefetching bandwidth of each core, and multithreaded querying fully saturates the DDR4 memory bandwidth.



  • Given are $n < 2^40 \approx 10^11$ keys.
  • We partition into $P$ parts each consisting of $\approx 200000$ keys.
  • Each part consists of $B$ buckets and $S$ slots, with $S$ a power of $2$.
  • The total number of buckets $B\cdot P$ is roughly $n/\log n \cdot c$, for a parameter $c\sim 8$.
  • The total number of slots is $S \cdot P$ is roughly $n / \alpha, for a parameter $\alpha \sim 0.98$.


Given a key $x$, compute in order:

  1. $h = h(x)$, the hash of the key which is uniform in $[0, 2^{64})$.
  2. $part = \left\lfloor \frac {P\cdot h}{2^{64}} \right\rfloor$, the part of the key.
  3. $h' = (P\cdot h) \mod 2^{64}$.
  4. We split buckets into large and small buckets. (This speeds up construction.) Specifically we map $\beta = 0.6$ of elements into $\gamma = 0.3$ of buckets:

$$bucket = B\cdot part + \begin{cases} \left\lfloor \frac{\gamma B}{\beta 2^{64}} h'\right\rfloor& \text{if } h' < \beta \cdot 2^{64} \ \left\lfloor\gamma B + \frac{(1-\gamma)B}{(1-\beta)2^{64}} h'\right\rfloor & \text{if } h' \geq \beta \cdot 2^{64}. \ \end{cases}$$

  1. Look up the pilot $p$ for the bucket $bucket$.
  2. For some 64bit mixing constant $C$, the slot is:

$$ slot = part \cdot S + ((h \oplus (C \cdot p)) \cdot C) \mod S $$

Compared to PTHash

PTRHash extends it in a few ways:

  • 8-bit pilots: Instead of allowing pilots to take any integer value, we restrict them to [0, 256) and store them as Vec<u8> directly, instead of requiring a compact or dictionary encoding.

  • Displacing: To get all pilots to be small, we use displacing, similar to cuckoo hashing: Whenever we cannot find a collision-free pilot for a bucket, we find the pilot with the fewest collisions and displace all colliding buckets, which are pushed on a queue after which they will search for a new pilot.

  • Partitioning: To speed up construction, we partition all keys/hashes into parts such that each part contains $S=2^k$ slots, which we choose to be roughly the size of the L1 cache. This significantly speeds up construction since all reads of the taken bitvector are now very local.

    This brings the benefit that the only global memory needed is to store the hashes for each part. The sorting, bucketing, and slot filling is per-part and needs comparatively little memory.

  • Remap encoding: We use a partitioned Elias-Fano encoding that encoding chunks of 44 integers into a single cacheline. This takes `30% more space for remapping, but replaces the three reads needed by (global) Elias-Fano encoding by a single read.


use ptr_hash::{PtrHash, PtrHashParams};
let n = 1_000_000_000;
let keys = ptr_hash::util::generate_keys(n);

let mphf = <PtrHash>::new(&keys, PtrHashParams::default());
let sum = mphf.index_stream::<32, true>(&keys).sum::<usize>();
assert_eq!(sum, (n * (n - 1)) / 2);

// Get the minimal index of a key.
let key = 0;
let idx = mphf.index_minimal(&key);
assert!(idx < n);
// Get the non-minimal index of a key. Slightly faster.
let _idx = mphf.index(&key);

// An iterator over the indices of the keys.
// 32: number of iterations ahead to prefetch.
// true: remap to a minimal key in [0, n).
let indices = mphf.index_stream::<32, true>(&keys);
assert_eq!(indices.sum::<usize>(), (n * (n - 1)) / 2);

// Test that all items map to different indices
let mut taken = vec![false; n];

for key in keys {
    let idx = mphf.index_minimal(&key);
    taken[idx] = true;


~631K SLoC