Mahout collections


The Mahout Collections library is a set of container classes that address some limitations of the standard collections in Java. This presentation describes a number of performance problems with the standard collections.

Mahout collections addresses two of the more glaring: the lack of support for primitive types and the lack of open hashing.

Primitive Types

The most visible feature of Mahout Collections is the large collection of primitive type collections. Given Java’s asymmetrical support for the primitive types, the only efficient way to handle them is with many classes. So, there are ArrayList-like containers for all of the primitive types, and hash maps for all the useful combinations of primitive type and object keys and values.

These classes do not, in general, implement interfaces from java.util. Even when the java.util interfaces could be type-compatible, they tend to include requirements that are not consistent with efficient use of primitive types.

Open Addressing

All of the sets and maps in Mahout Collections are open-addressed hash tables. Open addressing has a much smaller memory footprint than chaining. Since the purpose of these collections is to avoid the memory cost of autoboxing, open addressing is a consistent design choice.


Mahout Collections includes open hash sets. Unlike java.util, a set is not a recycled hash table; the sets are separately implemented and do not have any additional storage usage for unused keys.

Credit where Credit is due

The implementation of Mahout Collections is derived from Cern Colt .