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A simple integer compression library in Java

JavaFastPFOR: A simple integer compression library in Java

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This code is released under the Apache License Version 2.0

What does this do?

It is a library to compress and uncompress arrays of integers very fast. The assumption is that most (but not all) values in your array use less than 32 bits. These sort of arrays often come up when using differential coding in databases and information retrieval (e.g., in inverted indexes or column stores).

It can decompress integers at a rate of over 1.2 billions per second (4.5 GB/s). It is significantly faster than generic codecs (such as Snappy, LZ4 and so on) when compressing arrays of integers.

Part of this library has been integrated in Parquet ( A modified version of the library is included in the search engine Terrier ( This libary is used by ClueWeb Tools (

This library inspired a compression scheme used by Apache Lucene (e.g., see ).

It is a java port of the fastpfor C++ library ( There is also a Go port ( The C++ library is used by the zsearch engine ( as well as in GMAP and GSNAP (


Really simple usage:

        IntegratedIntCompressor iic = new IntegratedIntCompressor();
        int[] data = ... ; // to be compressed
        int[] compressed = iic.compress(data); // compressed array
        int[] recov = iic.uncompress(compressed); // equals to data

For more examples, see

Some CODECs ("integrated codecs") assume that the integers are in sorted orders and use differential coding (they compress deltas). They can be found in the package me.lemire.integercopression.differential. Most others do not.

Maven central repository

Using this code in your own project is easy with maven, just add the following code in your pom.xml file:


Naturally, you should replace "version" by the version you desire.

You can also download JavaFastPFOR from the Maven central repository:


We found no library that implemented state-of-the-art integer coding techniques such as Binary Packing, NewPFD, OptPFD, Variable Byte, Simple 9 and so on in Java. We wrote one.

Thread safery

Some codecs are thread-safe while others are not. For this reason, it is best to use one codec per thread. The memory usage of a codec instance is small in any case.

Nevertheless, if you want to reuse codec instances, note that by convention, unless the documentation of a codec specify that it is not thread-safe, then it can be assumed to be thread-safe.


Main contributors

with contributions by

How does it compare to the Kamikaze PForDelta library?

In our tests, Kamikaze PForDelta is slower than our implementations. See the benchmarkresults directory for some results.



A recent Java compiler. Java 7 or better is recommended.

Good instructions on installing Java 7 on Linux:

How fast is it?

Compile the code and execute me.lemire.integercompression.benchmarktools.Benchmark.

I recommend running all the benchmarks with the "-server" flag on a desktop machine.

Speed is always reported in millions of integers per second.

For Maven users

mvn compile

mvn exec:java

For ant users

If you use Apache ant, please try this:

$ ant Benchmark


$ ant Benchmark

API Documentation

Want to read more?

This library was a key ingredient in the best paper at ECIR 2014 :

Matteo Catena, Craig Macdonald, Iadh Ounis, On Inverted Index Compression for Search Engine Efficiency, Lecture Notes in Computer Science 8416 (ECIR 2014), 2014.

We wrote several research papers documenting many of the CODECs implemented here:

Ikhtear Sharif wrote his M.Sc. thesis on this library:

Ikhtear Sharif, Performance Evaluation of Fast Integer Compression Techniques Over Tables, M.Sc. thesis, UNB 2013.

He also posted his slides online:


This work was supported by NSERC grant number 26143.

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