Definition: An area of storage where items with a common property are stored. Typically tree data structures and sort algorithms use many buckets, one for each group of items. Usually buckets are kept on disk.

Generalization (I am a kind of ...)

Aggregate parent (I am a part of or used in ...)
radix sort, bucket sort, elastic-bucket trie, hash heap, extendible hashing.

Note: A bucket is used when a number of items need to be kept together, but the order among them is not important. Conceptually it is a bag (rather than a set).

Author: PEB

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Entry modified 8 January 2004.
HTML page formatted Fri Mar 25 16:20:34 2011.

Cite this as:
Paul E. Black, "bucket", in Dictionary of Algorithms and Data Structures [online], Paul E. Black, ed., U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology. 8 January 2004. (accessed TODAY) Available from:

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