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Concurrent Expandable AMQs on the Basis of Quotient Filters

Authors Tobias Maier , Peter Sanders , Robert Williger

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Tobias Maier
  • Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany
Peter Sanders
  • Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany
Robert Williger
  • Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany

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Tobias Maier, Peter Sanders, and Robert Williger. Concurrent Expandable AMQs on the Basis of Quotient Filters. In 18th International Symposium on Experimental Algorithms (SEA 2020). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 160, pp. 15:1-15:13, Schloss Dagstuhl - Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2020)


A quotient filter is a cache efficient Approximate Membership Query (AMQ) data structure. Depending on the fill degree of the filter most insertions and queries only need to access one or two consecutive cache lines. This makes quotient filters very fast compared to the more commonly used Bloom filters that incur multiple independent memory accesses depending on the false positive rate. However, concurrent Bloom filters are easy to implement and can be implemented lock-free while concurrent quotient filters are not as simple. Usually concurrent quotient filters work by using an external array of locks - each protecting a region of the table. Accessing this array incurs one additional memory access per operation. We propose a new locking scheme that has no memory overhead. Using this new locking scheme we achieve 1.6× times higher insertion performance and over 2.1× higher query performance than with the common external locking scheme. Another advantage of quotient filters over Bloom filters is that a quotient filter can change its capacity when it is becoming full. We implement this growing technique for our concurrent quotient filters and adapt it in a way that allows unbounded growing while keeping a bounded false positive rate. We call the resulting data structure a fully expandable quotient filter. Its design is similar to scalable Bloom filters, but we exploit some concepts inherent to quotient filters to improve the space efficiency and the query speed. Additionally, we propose several quotient filter variants that are aimed to reduce the number of status bits (2-status-bit variant) or to simplify concurrent implementations (linear probing quotient filter). The linear probing quotient filter even leads to a lock-free concurrent filter implementation. This is especially interesting, since we show that any lock-free implementation of other common quotient filter variants would incur significant overheads in the form of additional data fields or multiple passes over the accessed data. The code produced as part of this submission can be found at

Subject Classification

ACM Subject Classification
  • Theory of computation → Data structures design and analysis
  • Theory of computation → Shared memory algorithms
  • Quotient filter
  • Concurrent data structures
  • Locking


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