HP files are primarily of two types – a printout file for HP printers/plotters, and a primary hash file (THOR database).
THOR (Thesaurus Oriented Retrieval) is a chemical database system, which is specifically designed to store and retrieve chemical information. It understands various chemical nomenclatures and can retrieve data using any identifier for a chemical or a compound. It also maintains the relationships between different names and their chemical information. A THOR database file actually consists of six files – the header file which contains the description; a lock file containing the process ID of the server; primary data file which contains all the data; a primary hash file; a cross reference file; and a cross reference hash file. Each of these six files uses a different extension. It is the primary hash file that uses the extension of ‘.hp’.
The primary hash file of the THOR database contains the hash table that allows constant time access of the primary data through SMILES (primary identifiers). This eliminates all searching during retrieval and data is directly looked up in a hash table as there is one unique SMILE per item. Thus the ability to use a hash table in THOR is directly related to the properties of SMILES.
The hash table contains the desired record’s location in the data file using hashes. A hash begins with a ‘function’ with a string of characters that identifies the record or information. A hash has three main properties – the large number of characters is evenly distributed; it can compute at a great speed; and if two different characters produce the same result, then there is the possibility of their colliding.
THOR can also resize the hash table if the table is overloaded with characters. The overloaded table is discarded and a new larger table is built.
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