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Open Access Publications from the University of California

GPERF : a perfect hash function generator

  • Author(s): Schmidt, Douglas C.
  • Suda, Tatsuya
  • et al.

gperf is a widely available perfect hash function generator written in C++. It automates a common system software operation: keyword recognition. gperf translates an n element user-specified keyword list keyfile into source code containing a k element lookup table and a pair of functions, phash and in_word_set. phash uniquely maps keywords in keyfile onto the range 0 .. k - 1, where k >/= n. If k = n, then phash is considered a minimal perfect hash function. in_word_set uses phash to determine whether a particular string of characters str occurs in the keyfile, using at most one string comparison.

This paper describes the user-interface, options, features, algorithm design and implementation strategies incorporated in gperf. It also presents the results from an empirical comparison between gperf-generated recognizers and other popular techniques for reserved word lookup.

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