# Hash Functions

In computer programming

**hash functions**map text (or other data) to integer numbers. Usually different inputs maps to different outputs, but sometimes a**collision**may happen (different input with the same output).**Cryptographic hash**functions transform text or binary data to fixed-length

**hash value**and are known to be

**collision-resistant**and

**irreversible**. Example of cryptographic hash function is

**SHA3-256**:

SHA3-256("hello") = "3338be694f50c5f338814986cdf0686453a888b84f424d792af4b9202398f392"

The above SHA3-256 hash calculation can be coded in Python like this:

import hashlib, binascii

sha3_256hash = hashlib.sha3_256(b'hello').digest()

print("SHA3-256('hello') =", binascii.hexlify(sha3_256hash))

The same SHA3-256 hash calculation can be coded in JavaScript like this (after

`npm install js-sha3`

):sha3 = require('js-sha3');

let sha3_256hash = sha3.sha3_256('hello').toString();

console.log("SHA3-256('hello') =", sha3_256hash);

The process of calculating the value of certain hash function is called "

**hashing**".In the above example the text

`John Smith`

is hashed to the hash value `02`

and `Lisa Smith`

is hashed to `01`

. The input texts `John Smith`

and `Sandra Dee`

both are hashed to `02`

and this is called "**collision**".Hash functions are

**irreversible by design**, which means that there is no fast algorithm to restore the input message from its hash value.In programming

**hash functions**are used in the implementation of the data structure "**hash-table**" (associative array) which maps values of certain input type to values of another type, e.g. map product name (text) to product price (decimal number).A

**naive hash function**is just to sum the bytes of the input data / text. It causes a lot of collisions, e.g.`hello`

and `ehllo`

will have the same hash code. **Better hash functions**may use the Merkle–Damgård construction scheme, which takes the first byte as**state**, then**transforms the state**(e.g. multiplies it by a prime number like 31), then**adds the next byte**to the state, then again transforms the state and adds the next byte, etc. This significantly reduces the rate of collisions and produces better distribution.In cryptography,

**hash functions**transform**input data**of arbitrary size (e.g. a text message) to a**result**of fixed size (e.g. 256 bits), which is called**hash value**(or hash code, message digest, or simply hash). Hash functions (hashing algorithms) used in computer cryptography are known as "**cryptographic hash functions**". Examples of such functions are**SHA-256**and**SHA3-256**, which transform arbitrary input to 256-bit output.As an

**example**, we can take the cryptographic hash function`SHA-256`

and calculate the hash value of certain text message `hello`

:SHA-256("hello") = "2cf24dba5fb0a30e26e83b2ac5b9e29e1b161e5c1fa7425e73043362938b9824"

The above SHA-256 calculation can be coded in Python like this:

import hashlib, binascii

sha256hash = hashlib.sha256(b'hello').digest()

print("SHA-256('hello') = ", binascii.hexlify(sha256hash))

There is no efficient algorithm to find the input message (in the above example

`hello`

) from its hash value (in the above example `2cf24dba5fb0a30e26e83b2ac5b9e29e1b161e5c1fa7425e73043362938b9824`

). It is well-known that cryptographic hash functions **cannot be reversed**back, so they are used widely to encode an input without revealing it (e.g. encode a private key to a blockchain address without revealing the key).As another

**example**, we can take the cryptographic hash function`SHA3-512`

and calculate the hash value of the same text message `hello`

:SHA3-512("hello") = "75d527c368f2efe848ecf6b073a36767800805e9eef2b1857d5f984f036eb6df891d75f72d9b154518c1cd58835286d1da9a38deba3de98b5a53e5ed78a84976"

**Play**with most popular cryptographic hash functions

**online**: https://www.fileformat.info/tool/hash.htm.

**Cryptographic hash functions**are widely used in cryptography, in computer programming and in blockchain systems.

Last modified 1yr ago