# In perfect hashing, why does a secondary hash table that is quadratic in size leads to no collisions?

See below a screenshot from CLRS 3rd Edition (Section 11.5, "Perfect Hashing"). The last sentence of the last paragraph says that the choice of $$m_j = n^2_j$$ leads to collision-free constant-time lookup.

Why? Is it because:

1. It assumes that one could, in theory, try or sample several hashing functions $$\mathcal{h} \in \mathcal{H}$$, checking for each for collisions, until we find one $$h'$$ that doesn't have them?
2. the probability of sampling $$h$$ without collisions is 1/2, so it shouldn't be that difficult to find $$h'$$?

If not, why? • Read the first sentence of this quoted paragraph again. That must have been explained somewhere. Mar 10 '20 at 1:50
• Thanks @Pseudonym I expanded the text to include it all.
– Josh
Mar 10 '20 at 3:23
• Excellent. Did that answer your question? Mar 10 '20 at 3:32
• Not really, @Pseudonym thanks. Why would p(collision) < 1/2 lead to collision-free constant-time lookups? The secondary hash table isn't even designed to handle collisions (e.g. chaining or open addressing). It's just a hash table. And even if it did somehow, a p<1/2 doesn't necessarily mean that you get collision-free lookups (even on avg) since it would depend on how you handle those collisions.
– Josh
Mar 10 '20 at 3:35
• The statement that you quote is informal. When the authors actually use Theorem 11.9, you will see how exactly the theorem gets used. Just read on. Mar 10 '20 at 15:06

If $$n_j$$ keys hash to slot $$j$$ of the first-level hashtable, and if $$n_j > 1$$, we will need to use a second-level hashtable for that slot. Theorem 11.9 helps us in the sense that, if we keep this second hashtable size as $$n_j^2$$, then atleast 1/2 of the hash-functions in any universal-class (which all hash to range 0 to $$n_j^2-1$$) must give no collisions for the $$n_j$$ keys.
We can NOT conclude that if we pick any random function from this class, we will have a collision-free case. We will need to do some trials, and can hope to succeed for this set of $$n_j$$ keys very soon, due to the 1/2 probability provided by Theorem 11.9.