Key-Value Pair

What Does Key-Value Pair Mean?

A key-value pair (KVP) is an abstract data type that includes a group of key identifiers and a set of associated values. Key-value pairs are frequently used in lookup tables, hash tables and configuration files.


Techopedia Explains Key-Value Pair

Mapping, on the other side of array processing, is the process of binding the key to its associated value. In mapping, if a key of index 23 is associated with a value tree, it means that the array maps the tree to key number 23. The notion of key-value pairing is a subset of the mathematical concept of a finite set or domain. Providing an indexed data storing process is the purpose of key-value pairs.

A key-value pair can be considered a general form of an array, which maps a key index to a certain data value. However, the key-value pair can be used in a more general and arbitrary way as well.

To decrease the lookup process time for a value, a specialized implementation of computer memory is often used in the lookup process and other high performance applications. Computer systems that apply this specialized memory technique are called content-addressable memory (CAM) systems.


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Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…