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36.12 Hashing Functions

It is often necessary to find if two strings or files are identical. This might be done by comparing them character by character and looking for differences. However, this can be slow, and so comparing a hash of the string or file can be a rapid way of finding if the files differ.

Another use of the hashing function is to check for file integrity. The user can check the hash of the file against a known value and find if the file they have is the same as the one that the original hash was produced with.

Octave supplies the md5sum function to perform MD5 hashes on strings and files. An example of the use of md5sum function might be

if exist (file, "file")
  hash = md5sum (file);
  # Treat the variable "file" as a string
  hash = md5sum (file, true);
Built-in Function: md5sum (file)
Built-in Function: md5sum (str, opt)

Calculate the MD5 sum of the file file.

If the second parameter opt exists and is true, then calculate the MD5 sum of the string str.