On Thu, May 22, 2014 at 11:41 PM, Adam Funk <a24...@ducksburg.com> wrote:
> On further reflection, I think I asked for that.  In fact, the table
> I'm using only has one column for the hashes --- I wasn't going to
> store the strings at all in order to save disk space (maybe my mind is
> stuck in the 1980s).

That's a problem, then, because you will see hash collisions. Maybe
not often, but they definitely will occur if you have enough strings
(look up the birthday paradox - with a 32-bit arbitrarily selected
integer (such as a good crypto hash that you then truncate to 32
bits), you have a 50% chance of a collision at just 77,000 strings).

Do you have enough RAM to hold all the strings directly? Just load 'em
all up into a Python set. Set operations are fast, clean, and easy.
Your already_seen function becomes a simple 'in' check. These days you
can get 16GB or 32GB of RAM in a PC inexpensively enough; with an
average string size of 80 characters, and assuming Python 3.3+, that's
about 128 bytes each - close enough, and a nice figure. 16GB divided
by 128 gives 128M strings - obviously you won't get all of that, but
that's your ball-park. Anything less than, say, a hundred million
strings, and you can dump the lot into memory. Easy!


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