Fowler–Noll–Vo hash function

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Fowler–Noll–Vo is a non-cryptographic hash function created by Glenn Fowler, Landon Curt Noll, and Kiem-Phong Vo.

The basis of the FNV hash algorithm was taken from an idea sent as reviewer comments to the IEEE POSIX P1003.2 committee by Glenn Fowler and Phong Vo in 1991. In a subsequent ballot round, Landon Curt Noll improved on their algorithm. In an email message to Landon, they named it the Fowler/Noll/Vo or FNV hash.[1]


The current versions are FNV-1 and FNV-1a, which supply a means of creating non-zero FNV offset basis. FNV currently comes in 32-, 64-, 128-, 256-, 512-, and 1024-bit flavors. For pure FNV implementations, this is determined solely by the availability of FNV primes for the desired bit length; however, the FNV webpage discusses methods of adapting one of the above versions to a smaller length that may or may not be a power of two.[2][3]

The FNV hash algorithms and reference FNV source code[4][5] have been released into the public domain.[6]

FNV is not a cryptographic hash.[7]

The hash[edit]

One of FNV's key advantages is that it is very simple to implement. Start with an initial hash value of FNV offset basis. For each byte in the input, multiply hash by the FNV prime, then XOR it with the byte from the input. The alternate algorithm, FNV-1a, reverses the multiply and XOR steps.

FNV-1 hash[edit]

The FNV-1 hash algorithm is as follows:[8][9]

   hash = FNV_offset_basis
   for each byte_of_data to be hashed
   	hash = hash × FNV_prime
   	hash = hash XOR byte_of_data
   return hash

In the above pseudocode, all variables are unsigned integers. All variables, except for byte_of_data, have the same number of bits as the FNV hash. The variable, byte_of_data, is an 8 bit unsigned integer.

As an example, consider the 64-bit FNV-1 hash:

  • All variables, except for byte_of_data, are 64-bit unsigned integers.
  • The variable, byte_of_data, is an 8-bit unsigned integer.
  • The FNV_offset_basis is the 64-bit FNV offset basis value: 14695981039346656037 (in hex, 0xcbf29ce484222325).
  • The FNV_prime is the 64-bit FNV prime value: 1099511628211 (in hex, 0x100000001b3).
  • The multiply returns the lower 64-bits of the product.
  • The XOR is an 8-bit operation that modifies only the lower 8-bits of the hash value.
  • The hash value returned is a 64-bit unsigned integer.

FNV-1a hash[edit]

The FNV-1a hash differs from the FNV-1 hash by only the order in which the multiply and XOR is performed:[8][10]

   hash = FNV_offset_basis
   for each byte_of_data to be hashed
   	hash = hash XOR byte_of_data
   	hash = hash × FNV_prime
   return hash

The above pseudocode has the same assumptions that were noted for the FNV-1 pseudocode. The small change in order leads to slightly better avalanche characteristics.[8][11]

FNV-0 hash (deprecated)[edit]

The FNV-0 hash differs from the FNV-1 hash only by the initialisation value of the hash variable:[8][12]

   hash = 0
   for each byte_of_data to be hashed
   	hash = hash × FNV_prime
   	hash = hash XOR octet_of_data
   return hash

The above pseudocode has the same assumptions that were noted for the FNV-1 pseudocode.

Use of the FNV-0 hash is deprecated except for the computing of the FNV offset basis for use as the FNV-1 and FNV-1a hash parameters.[8][12]

FNV offset basis[edit]

There are several different FNV offset basis for various bit lengths. These FNV offset basis are computed by computing the FNV-0 from the following 32 octets when expressed in ASCII:

chongo <Landon Curt Noll> /\../\

which is one of Landon Curt Noll's signature lines. This is the only current practical use for the deprecated FNV-0.[8][12]

FNV prime[edit]

An FNV prime is a prime number and is determined as follows:[13][14]

For a given :

  • (i.e., s is an integer)

where is:

and where is:

NOTE: is the floor function

then the n-bit FNV prime is the smallest prime number that is of the form:

such that:

  • The number of one-bits in the binary number representation of is either 4 or 5

Experimentally, FNV prime matching the above constraints tend to have better dispersion properties. They improve the polynomial feedback characteristic when an FNV prime multiplies an intermediate hash value. As such, the hash values produced are more scattered throughout the n-bit hash space.[13][14]

FNV hash parameters[edit]

The above FNV prime constraints and the definition of the FNV offset basis yield the following table of FNV hash parameters:

FNV parameters [15][16]
Size in bits

FNV prime FNV offset basis
32 224 + 28 + 0x93 =


2166136261 =


64 240 + 28 + 0xb3 =


14695981039346656037 =


128 288 + 28 + 0x3b =




256 2168 + 28 + 0x63 =



512 2344 + 28 + 0x57 =



1024 2680 + 28 + 0x8d =



 0x0000000000000000 005f7a76758ecc4d 32e56d5a591028b7 4b29fc4223fdada1
6c3bf34eda3674da 9a21d90000000000 0000000000000000 0000000000000000
0000000000000000 0000000000000000 0000000000000000 000000000004c6d7
eb6e73802734510a 555f256cc005ae55 6bde8cc9c6a93b21 aff4b16c71ee90b3

The prefix "0x" on numbers means that the subsequent numbers are in hexadecimal.

Non-cryptographic hash[edit]

The FNV hash was designed for fast hash table and checksum use, not cryptography. The authors have identified the following properties as making the algorithm unsuitable as a cryptographic hash function:[7]

  • Speed of Computation – As a hash designed primarily for hashtable and checksum use, FNV-1 and FNV-1a were designed to be fast to compute. However, this same speed makes finding specific hash values (collisions) by brute force faster.
  • Sticky State – Being an iterative hash based primarily on multiplication and XOR, the algorithm is sensitive to the number zero. Specifically, if the hash value were to become zero at any point during calculation, and the next byte hashed were also all zeroes, the hash would not change. This makes colliding messages trivial to create given a message that results in a hash value of zero at some point in its calculation. Additional operations, such as the addition of a third constant prime on each step, can mitigate this but may have detrimental effects on avalanche effect or random distribution of hash values.
  • Diffusion – The ideal secure hash function is one in which each byte of input has an equally-complex effect on every bit of the hash. In the FNV hash, the ones place (the rightmost bit) is always the XOR of the rightmost bit of every input byte. This can be mitigated by XOR-folding (computing a hash twice the desired length, and then XORing the bits in the "upper half" with the bits in the "lower half").[17]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]