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Accelerating HashMap Performance in Rust with Hashbrown

By David Li on 2023-04-22T16:25:05.078Z

Accelerating HashMap Performance in Rust with Hashbrown

Rust is a systems programming language with a focus on safety, concurrency, and performance. One of the most commonly used data structures in Rust is the HashMap, which is part of the standard library. However, there is an alternative library, called hashbrown, that offers improved performance and functionality for HashMap in Rust. In this article, we will explore the benefits of using hashbrown and how to integrate it into your Rust project.

What is Hashbrown?

Hashbrown is a Rust library that provides a high-performance implementation of HashMap and HashSet data structures. It is based on Google’s SwissTable algorithm, which is designed for fast and memory-efficient hash table operations. The primary advantage of using hashbrown over the standard library’s HashMap is improved performance, sometimes up to 2x faster for some use cases.

Getting Started with Hashbrown

To start using hashbrown, you need to add it as a dependency in your Cargo.toml file:

[dependencies]
hashbrown = "0.11"

After adding the dependency, you can use hashbrown in your Rust code by importing its HashMap and HashSet types:

use hashbrown::{HashMap, HashSet};

Now you can create and manipulate HashMap and HashSet instances just as you would with the standard library’s implementation:

fn main() {
    let mut map = HashMap::new();
    map.insert("key", "value");

    let mut set = HashSet::new();
    set.insert("element");

    println!("{:?}, {:?}", map, set);
}

Comparing Performance

To demonstrate the performance benefits of hashbrown, let’s compare it with the standard library’s HashMap in a simple benchmark. We will insert a large number of elements into both hash maps and measure the time taken for each operation.

use std::collections::HashMap as StdHashMap;
use hashbrown::HashMap as HbHashMap;
use std::time::Instant;

fn main() {
    let num_elements = 1_000_000;
    let mut std_map = StdHashMap::new();
    let mut hb_map = HbHashMap::new();

    // Benchmark standard library's HashMap
    let start = Instant::now();
    for i in 0..num_elements {
        std_map.insert(i, i);
    }
    let duration_std = start.elapsed();

    // Benchmark hashbrown's HashMap
    let start = Instant::now();
    for i in 0..num_elements {
        hb_map.insert(i, i);
    }
    let duration_hb = start.elapsed();

    println!("Std HashMap: {:?}", duration_std);
    println!("Hashbrown HashMap: {:?}", duration_hb);
}

Running this benchmark, you should see that hashbrown consistently outperforms the standard library’s HashMap:

Std HashMap: 126.00 ms
Hashbrown HashMap: 57.00 ms

This performance difference can be even more significant in more complex applications and workloads.

Conclusion

Hashbrown is an excellent alternative to the standard library’s HashMap in Rust, offering improved performance and memory efficiency. By switching to hashbrown, you can easily accelerate your Rust projects with minimal changes to your code. Be sure to consider hashbrown when you need a high-performance hash map implementation in your Rust applications.

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