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5.6.12 Hash Tables

Hash tables are dictionaries which offer similar functionality as association lists: They provide a mapping from keys to values. The difference is that association lists need time linear in the size of elements when searching for entries, whereas hash tables can normally search in constant time. The drawback is that hash tables require a little bit more memory, and that you can not use the normal list procedures (see Lists) for working with them.

Guile provides two types of hashtables. One is an abstract data type that can only be manipulated with the functions in this section. The other type is concrete: it uses a normal vector with alists as elements. The advantage of the abstract hash tables is that they will be automatically resized when they become too full or too empty.