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Java Tutorial

Hashcode in Java


The hashcode is a fundamental concept in Java that plays a crucial role in hashing and hash-based data structures. It serves as an identifier generated by the hashCode() method for objects, allowing efficient storage, retrieval, and searching operations.

This article will explore the concept of hashcode in Java, provide examples of its usage, and briefly touch upon the differences between hashcode in Java and hashcode in JavaScript.


Hashcode in Java is a concept involving the generation of a numeric identifier for objects. Hashcode implementation in Java helps efficiently store and retrieve hash-based data structures.

The hashCode() method calculates a unique integer value based on an object's state. Hashcode ensures that objects with equal values produce the same hashcode, but equal hashcodes don't guarantee object equality.

It determines the index or bucket for storage, improving performance and following guidelines to ensure consistency and proper distribution of hashcodes.

Although hashcode is widely used in Java, there may be differences in implementation and usage in other languages like JavaScript.

Properties of Hashing

Properties of hashing and hashcode in Java in general, regardless of the programming language, include:

Determinism: A hashing function should always produce the same hash code given the same input. This property ensures consistency and predictability.

Uniformity: An excellent hashing function should distribute hash codes uniformly across the entire hash space. It helps minimize collisions and ensures that different inputs will likely produce other hash codes.

Fixed Output Size: Hashing functions produce a fixed-size output, regardless of the input data size. It allows hash codes to be stored efficiently and compared quickly.

Preimage Resistance: Determining the original input data from its hash code should be computationally infeasible. It ensures that hash codes cannot be reversed to obtain the original data.

Avalanche Effect: A slight change in the input should result in a significantly different hash code. It ensures that similar inputs produce very other hash codes, making it difficult to infer any information about the input from its hash code.

Collision Resistance: Collisions occur when two different inputs produce the same hash code. While it is impossible to avoid collisions entirely, an excellent hashing function minimizes the probability of collisions, reducing the likelihood of different inputs having the same hash code.

Efficiency: Hashing functions should be computationally efficient, allowing for quick calculation of hash codes even for significant inputs. Efficient hashing is crucial for performance-sensitive applications.

The Java hashCode() Method

The hashCode() method in Java is a part of the Object class and generates a unique identifier, called a hash code, for an object.

Key points about Java string hashcode are:

  • Method Signature: public int hashCode()

  • Overrides: It can be overridden in subclasses to provide a custom implementation.

  • Object Identity: By default, hashCode() returns a unique identifier based on the object's memory address.

  • Equality Contract: If two objects are equal according to equals(), their hash codes must be equal (though equal hash codes do not guarantee object equality).

  • Hash-Based Collections: hashCode() is used in hash-based collections like HashMap and HashSet to store and retrieve objects efficiently.

  • Custom Implementation: When overriding hashCode(), consider relevant fields and combine their hash codes using formulas like multiplication with prime numbers and bitwise XOR operations.

Integer Class hashCode Methods in Java

In Java, the Integer class is a wrapper class for the primitive type int. The Integer class overrides the hashCode() method inherited from the Object class. 

Some details of the hashCode() method in the Integer class include:

  • Method Signature: public int hashCode()

  • Implementation: The hashCode() method in the Integer class computes the hash code based on the wrapped int value. It simply returns the same hash code as the wrapped int value.

Here is an example of using the hashCode() method in the Integer class:

public class IntegerHash {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        Integer num1 = 42;
        Integer num2 = 42;
        int hashCode1 = num1.hashCode();
        int hashCode2 = num2.hashCode();
        System.out.println("hashCode1: " + hashCode1);
        System.out.println("hashCode2: " + hashCode2);
        System.out.println("Are num1 and num2 equal? " + num1.equals(num2));

Declaration of hashCode in a Java Program

Here is an example of implementing the hashCode() method in Java:

public class Person {
    private String name;
    private int age;
    public Person(String name, int age) { = name;
        this.age = age;
    // Getters and setters
    public int hashCode() {
        final int prime = 31;
        int result = 1;
        result = prime * result + age;
        result = prime * result + ((name == null) ? 0 : name.hashCode());
        return result;
    public boolean equals(Object obj) {
        if (this == obj)
            return true;
        if (obj == null)
            return false;
        if (getClass() != obj.getClass())
            return false;
        Person other = (Person) obj;
        if (age != other.age)
            return false;
        if (name == null) {
            if ( != null)
                return false;
        } else if (!name.equals(
            return false;
        return true;

In this example, the hashCode() method is overridden in the Person class. The implementation follows the recommended approach of using prime numbers and combining the hash codes of individual fields.

The hashCode() method calculates a hash code based on the name and age fields of a Person object. It multiplies the current hash code by the prime number 31 and adds the hash codes of the fields. The hash code of the name field is obtained using the hashCode() method of the String class, which returns an integer representation of the string.

By implementing both hashCode() and equals() methods, you ensure that objects of the Person class can be correctly used in hash-based data structures like HashMap or HashSet, allowing efficient retrieval and comparison operations.

Implementation of hashCode in Java

Let us explore some implementations of hashCode in Java:

Example of hashCode(int value)

Here is a custom hashCode(int value) method that calculates the hash code based on a specific int value:

public class CustomHash {
    public static int hashCode(int value) {
        // Perform custom logic to calculate hash code based on the value
        // and return the calculated hash code
        return value; // This is a simple example that uses the value itself as the hash code
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        int value1 = 42;
        int value2 = 42;
        int hashCode1 = hashCode(value1);
        int hashCode2 = hashCode(value2);
        System.out.println("hashCode1: " + hashCode1);
        System.out.println("hashCode2: " + hashCode2);
        System.out.println("Are value1 and value2 equal? " + (value1 == value2));
        System.out.println("Are hashCode1 and hashCode2 equal? " + (hashCode1 == hashCode2));

In this code, we create a custom hashCode(int value) method that takes an int value as an argument and calculates the hash code based on that value. In this simple example, we return the value as the hash code.

Example of standard hashCode() method

Here is a standard hashCode() method that generates a hash code based on the memory address of the object:

public class StandardHash {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        StandardHash obj1 = new StandardHash();
        StandardHash obj2 = new StandardHash();
        int hashCode1 = obj1.hashCode();
        int hashCode2 = obj2.hashCode();
        System.out.println("hashCode1: " + hashCode1);
        System.out.println("hashCode2: " + hashCode2);
        System.out.println("Are obj1 and obj2 equal? " + obj1.equals(obj2));

In this example, we create two instances of the StandardHash class, obj1 and obj2. We then retrieve their hash codes using the hashCode() method provided by the Object class.

Use of hashCode in Hashing

Hashing relies heavily on the hashCode() function. When using different data structures like hash tables, hash sets, or hash maps, hashing is a technique that saves, retrieves, and searches for data quickly.

Here's how hashCode() is used in hashing:

Hash Function

The hashCode in Java is built on the hash function. The hash function creates a hash code from an input, for example., an object, using the hashCode() method.

Hash Code Mapping

The hash code generated by the hashCode() function maps the input to a specific index or bucket within the hash data structure. This mapping enables the effective storing and retrieval of data.

Key-Value Association

The hashCode() method chooses the index or bucket where the key-value pair will be placed in hash-based data structures like hash maps. The right index is found to quickly access and retrieve the associated value using the key's hash code.

Performance Optimization

When properly implemented, the hashCode() method helps distribute objects uniformly across the hash data structure. A good hash code distribution minimizes collisions and maximizes the efficiency of storage and retrieval operations.

Equals Method

The hashCode() method is similar to the equals() method. In hash-based data structures, the equals() method compares keys for equality, and hashCode() is used to locate the bucket quickly.

Objects with the exact equals() result should have the same hash code for efficient retrieval.


Hashcode in Java is a crucial concept for efficiently storing and retrieving objects in hash-based data structures. The hashcode is a unique identifier generated by the hashCode() method based on an object's state.

It ensures that objects with equal values produce the same hashcode, facilitating faster searching and indexing operations. Objects with the exact equals() result should have the same hash code for efficient retrieval.


1. What is the hashCode() method in Java used for?

In Java, the hashCode method creates a hash code for an object that acts as an identifier for efficient storing and retrieval in hash-based data structures.

2. Can two different objects have the same hash code in Java?

Due to hash collisions, two separate items can have the same hash code. A proper hash function reduces the risk of collisions, but they cannot always be avoided totally.

3. Should I always override the hashCode() method when implementing my classes?

It is recommended to override the hashCode() method when implementing custom classes used in hash-based data structures or when the equals() method is overridden. This ensures consistency and adherence to the hashCode() and equals() contract.

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