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Notes on Hashing

Numba supports the built-in hash() and does so by simply calling the __hash__() member function on the supplied argument. This makes it trivial to add hash support for new types as all that is required is the application of the extension API overload_method() decorator to overload a function for computing the hash value for the new type registered to the type’s __hash__() method. For example:

from numba.extending import overload_method

@overload_method(myType, '__hash__')
def myType_hash_overload(obj):
    # implementation details

The Implementation

The implementation of the Numba hashing functions strictly follows that of Python 3. The only exception to this is that for hashing Unicode and bytes (for content longer than sys.hash_info.cutoff) the only supported algorithm is siphash24 (default in CPython 3). As a result Numba will match Python 3 hash values for all supported types under the default conditions described.

Unicode hash cache differences

Both Numba and CPython Unicode string internal representations have a hash member for the purposes of caching the string’s hash value. This member is always checked ahead of computing a hash value the with view of simply providing a value from cache as it is considerably cheaper to do so. The Numba Unicode string hash caching implementation behaves in a similar way to that of CPython’s. The only notable behavioral change (and its only impact is a minor potential change in performance) is that Numba always computes and caches the hash for Unicode strings created in nopython mode at the time they are boxed for reuse in Python, this is too eager in some cases in comparison to CPython which may delay hashing a new Unicode string depending on creation method. It should also be noted that Numba copies in the hash member of the CPython internal representation for Unicode strings when unboxing them to its own representation so as to not recompute the hash of a string that already has a hash value associated with it.

The accommodation of PYTHONHASHSEED

The PYTHONHASHSEED environment variable can be used to seed the CPython hashing algorithms for e.g. the purposes of reproduciblity. The Numba hashing implementation directly reads the CPython hashing algorithms’ internal state and as a result the influence of PYTHONHASHSEED is replicated in Numba’s hashing implementations.