Sunday, May 15, 2011

Performance of Set interface implementations


The HashSet class offers constant-time [ Big O Notation is O(1) ] performance for the basic operations (add, remove, contains and size), assuming the hash function disperses the elements properly among the buckets. Iterating over this set requires time proportional to the sum of the HashSet instance's size (the number of elements) plus the "capacity" of the backing HashMap instance (the number of buckets). Thus, it's very important not to set the initial capacity too high (or the load factor too low) if iteration performance is important.



The TreeSet implementation provides guaranteed log(n) time cost for the basic operations (add, remove and contains).



A linked hash set has two parameters that affect its performance: initial capacity and load factor. They are defined precisely as for HashSet. Note, however, that the penalty for choosing an excessively high value for initial capacity is less severe for this class than for HashSet, as iteration times for this class are unaffected by capacity.

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