Compressed Bloom Filters

A Bloom filter is a simple space-efficient randomized data structure for representing a set in order to support membership queries. Although Bloom filters allow false positives, for many applications the space savings outweigh this drawback when the probability of an error is sufficiently low. We introduce compressed Bloom filters, which improve performance when the Bloom filter is passed as a message, and its transmission size is a limiting factor. For example, Bloom filters have been suggested as a means for sharing Web cache information. In this setting, proxies do not share the exact contents of their caches, but instead periodically broadcast Bloom filters representing their cache. By using compressed Bloom filters, proxies can reduce the number of bits broadcast, the false positive rate, and/or the amount of computation per lookup. The cost is the processing time for compression and decompression, which can use simple arithmetic coding, and more memory use at the proxies, which utilize the larger uncompressed form of the Bloom filter.

To appear in PODC 2001.