The universality of iterated hashing over variable-length strings


Iterated hash functions process strings recursively, one character at a time. At each iteration, they compute a new hash value from the preceding hash value and the next character. We prove that iterated hashing can be pairwise independent, but never 3-wise independent. We show that it can be almost universal over strings much longer than the number of hash values; we bound the maximal string length given the collision probability.

Discrete Applied Mathematics 160 (4-5), 2012