dgupta3091 dgupta3091 - 5 months ago 17
Java Question

What exactly is bucket in hashmap?

Recently, in an interview I was asked, what exactly is a bucket in hashmap? Whether it is an array or a arraylist or what?

I got confused. I know hashmaps are backed by arrays. So can I say that bucket is an array with a capacity of 16 in the start storing hashcodes and to which linked lists have their start pointer, ?

Answer

No, a bucket is each element in the array you are referring to. In earlier Java versions, each bucket contained a linked list of Map entries. In new Java versions, each bucket contains either a tree structure of entries or a linked list of entries.

From the implementation notes in Java 8:

/*
 * Implementation notes.
 *
 * This map usually acts as a binned (bucketed) hash table, but
 * when bins get too large, they are transformed into bins of
 * TreeNodes, each structured similarly to those in
 * java.util.TreeMap. Most methods try to use normal bins, but
 * relay to TreeNode methods when applicable (simply by checking
 * instanceof a node).  Bins of TreeNodes may be traversed and
 * used like any others, but additionally support faster lookup
 * when overpopulated. However, since the vast majority of bins in
 * normal use are not overpopulated, checking for existence of
 * tree bins may be delayed in the course of table methods.
 ...