# Data.Map vs Data.IntMap

TweetA map is the one of most widely used data structures in many applications. Thus, many language runtimes provide an efficient implementation of a map. In a purely functional programming language, map is usually implemented as a balanced binary tree. Haskell is no exception here and the implementation of Haskell’s `Data.Map`

is based on size balanced binary trees described in

- Stephen Adams, “Efficient sets: a balancing act”, Journal of Functional Programming 3(4):553-562, October 1993, .
- J. Nievergelt and E.M. Reingold, “Binary search trees of bounded balance”, SIAM journal of computing 2(1), March 1973.

`Data.Map`

is parameterized over key and value types, so that you can use any type you want as long as key is an instance of `Ord`

type class. So, for example, you can use `Int`

as the key type and store any type you want.

However, Haskell also provides a special version `Data.IntMap`

for `Int`

key. It seems redundant at first, but `Data.IntMap`

is different from `Data.Map`

in that it supports efficient merging of two maps. The implementation of `Data.IntMap`

is described in

- Chris Okasaki and Andy Gill, “Fast Mergeable Integer Maps”, Workshop on ML, September 1998, pages 77-86,
- D.R. Morrison, “/PATRICIA — Practical Algorithm To Retrieve Information Coded In Alphanumeric/”, Journal of the ACM, 15(4), October 1968, pages 514-534.

The author of `Data.IntMap`

mentions that insertions and deletions of `Data.IntMap`

when compared to a generic size-balanced map implementation are also much faster. This observation suggests that we should use `Data.IntMap`

whenever possible whether or not we need union or intersection of twp maps.