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How HashSet is Implemented or works Internally in Java

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Javin Paul

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Nickname: javinpaul
Registered: Jan, 2012

Javin Paul is Java Programmer working on Finance domain.
How HashSet is Implemented or works Internally in Java Posted: Jan 22, 2014 7:55 AM
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Not many programmer know that HashSet is internally implemented using HashMap in Java, so if you know How HashMap works internally in Java, more likely you can figure out how HashSet works in Java. But, now a curious Java developer can question that, how come HashSet uses HashMap, because you need a key value pair to use with Map, while in HashSet we only store one object. Good question, isn't it? If you remember some functionality of earlier class, then you know that HashMap allows duplicate values and this property is exploited while implementing HashSet in Java. Since HashSet implements Set interface it needs to guarantee uniqueness and this is achieved by storing elements as keys with same value always. Things gets clear by checking from JDK source code. All you need to look at is, how elements are stored in HashSet and how they are retrieved from HashSet. Since HashSet doesn't provide any direct method for retrieving object e.g. get(Key key) from HashMap or get(int index) from List, only way to get object from HashSet is via Iterator. See here for code example of iterating over HashSet in Java. When you create an object of HashSet in Java, it internally create instance of backup Map with default initial capacity 16 and default load factor 0.75 as shown below :

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