Image Number 8 for United States Patent #8131729.
A system and associated method for looking up a best-fit record identified by a multi-field key. The multi-field key comprises multiple fields that are hierarchically organized in an order of significance in identifying a record. The system generates a set of key values that is used for a best-fit lookup of a search key value. Each value in the set of key values is specified in contiguous fields from the most significant field to a distinctive respective field. In looking up a record for the search key value, the most specific key value in the set is first compared with the search key value, and one-level less specific in the least significant field is next compared with the search key value, until the best-fit record for the search key value is found.