Memory limits in v8 is limited to somewhere around ~1.7GB when it comes to Object and Arrays. LargeDS (LDS) tries to overcome this barrier by making use of Typed Arrays by defining basic data structure like Hashtables and ArrayLists

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Number of watchers on Github 54
Number of open issues 0
Average time to close an issue 3 days
Main language CoffeeScript
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Last commit 11 months ago
Repo Created about 3 years ago
Repo Last Updated 7 months ago
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Update: LDS2 written in Typescript with more unit tests and better API is WIP at


Memory limits in v8 is limited to somewhere around ~1.7GB when it comes to Object and Arrays. LargeDS (LDS) tries to overcome this barrier by making use of Typed Arrays by defining basic data structure like Hashtables and ArrayLists

The Problem

I use CoffeeScript (Node.js) extensively to analyze large data sets. Time to time I run out of available memory provided by v8 for JS Objects and Arrays.

CoffeeScript is a little language that compiles into JavaScript.

Even in 64-bit Node.js (as of version 0.12) there is ~1.5GB memory limit. But this memory limit does not apply for Types Arrays. I don't believe this is case where we need to look for another resort like C, specially given the flexibility offered by JavaScript.

What is LDS

LDS (Large Data Structures) is a library that implements some of basic data structure based on JavaScript Typed Arrays to overcome this memory limit issue.

You can get LDS from here: (

It's still not fine tuned to gain the best performance but very much usable. There can be considerable performance hit in when it comes to strings since the lack of support from JS API to convert between JS String and Buffers

Here's how to use LDS to implement <string,number> map in Coffescript.

At the moment LDS only supports String keys in hash tables

  LDS = require 'lds'
  n = 10000000
  map = LDS.HashtableBase n, LDS.Types.Int32
  for i in [0...n]
   map.set "#{i}", i
  for i in [0..10]
   console.log "#{i} -> #{map.get "#{i}"}"

How to get it

#### Node.js

   npm install lds

And require it as follows

   LDS = require('lds')

#### Browser

   <script src=""></script>

And consume it as follows

   LDS = window.LDS


To represent related values, LDS has an implementation of Struct. A struct definition contains a list of root level property names and the types. Supported types are:


LDS has it's own implementation of String. It uses 2-byte fixed with character encoding so that there is always one-to-one transformation between JS native String and LDS.String

Here's an example definition of Struct

  Person = LDS.Struct "Person",
   {property: 'name', type: LDS.Types.String, length: 1}
   {property: 'age', type: LDS.Types.Int16}
   {property: 'values', type: LDS.Types.Int32, length: 5}
   {property: 'address', type: LDS.Types.String, length: 5}
  • property 'name' is a String
  • property 'age' is a 16-bit integer
  • property 'values' is a fixed-length array of 32-bit integer
  • property 'address' is a fixed-length array of Strings
  p = new Person
  p.setName 'Bob'
  p.setAge 23
  p.setValues [1, 2, 3]

Only first 3 values of values will be set

  p.setAddress ["No. 123", "Street 1", "Street 2", ""]
  p.setAddress "index-3-new", 3

4th element in address array is changed to a new value index-3-new

  str = new LDS.String "4-fourth"
  p.setAddress str, 4, on

Sets the 5th element of address to LDS.string str

By setting the 3rd argument to true in all setter functions, one can pass in an LDS.String values instead of a JS native String


If you are to create LDS.String, you must release those string objects by calling release() method. In most cases you will not create LDS.Strings. But you might create Hashtables and ArrayLists having LDS.Strings in their Structs. In such cases you'll have to call release() method of those objects once you are done working with that data structure.

  console.log p.get()

LDS.StructClass.get() method returns a JSON object of the struct instance.

  console.log p.getAddress 2

If a property in a Struct is an array, then the 1st argument of getters will be the index of the respective array.

  str = p.getAddress 0, on

  console.log str.toString()

  p2 = new Person
  p2.copyFrom p
  console.log p2.get()

2nd argument of getters is the string_flag that indicates the return value is a LDS.String object. You'll have to release() those objects after consuming.

Struct.copyFrom() method copies the content from source struct buffer area to target struct buffer area. LDS.Strings are copied by reference.

  • Reference counts to existing strings in source are decremented by 1.

  • Reference counts to strings in target are incremented by 1.

Array List

There is an implementation of LDS.Array. But LDS.Array hits a 32-bit limitation as size in new ArrayBuffer size has to be somewhere around 2^30 at max. Therefore LDS.Array has a maximum size limit of 2^29 / (#bytes_per_strcut)

ArrayList is build on top of LDS.Array and it is a list of LDS.Arrays. Therefore it has a size limit much greater than 2^32.

Here's hoe to make a large LDS.ArrayList using the sturct Person.

  testArratList = (n) ->
   arr = new Array 5
   people = new LDS.ArrayList Person
   instanece = null
   for i in [0...n]
    instance = people.add instance # same as people.add()
    instance.copyFrom p2
    instance.setName "#{i}"

    for j in [0...5]
     arr[j] = "#{i}-#{j}" # or instance.setAddress "#{i}-#{j}", j
    instance.setAddress arr
   console.log 'Done pushing elements'
   console.log 'Reading from ArrayList'
   for i in [0...10]
    p = (Math.floor Math.random()*n) % n
    #following is equal to (people.get p).getAddress()
    console.log p, (people.get p, instance).getAddress()

An object of the struct is passed in to add() and get() methods so that those methods can resume passed in Object rather than creating new one. If such an object is not passed in as an argument the methods will create a new Object.

Hash Table

LDS.HastableBase is a <string,number> implementation. LDS.Hashtable is a more generic <string,LDS.Struct> hashtable that is based on LDS.HashtableBase.

 testHashtable = (n) ->
  console.time 'time_hashtable'
  arr = new Array 5
  people = LDS.Hashtable n, Person #creates a hashtable of size n
  instance = null
  for i in [0...n]
   instance = people.get "#{i}", instance #gets the value in key #{i}
   instance.copyFrom p2

   for j in [0...5]
    instance.setAddress "#{i}-#{j}", j
  console.timeEnd 'time_hashtable'
  console.log 'Done populating the hastable'
  console.log 'Reading from hashtable'

  for i in [0...20]
   p = (Math.floor Math.random()*n*2) % (2*n)
   if not people.check "#{p}" #checks whether key exists
    console.log p, null
    console.log p, (people.get "#{p}", instance).getAddress()

get(key) method returns LDS.Struct instance of the given key. If key doesn't exists in the hash table, it creates a new key-value pair and returns the created instance.

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