Defect Report #078

Submission Date: 03 Dec 93
Submittor: WG14
Source: Clive Feather
Item 15 - uniqueness of addresses
Consider the following translation unit:
#include <string.h>

unsigned int f (unsigned int a)
unsigned int x, y;

x = a;
x = x * x + a;
if (x > 100)
return x; /*
Returned value must be > 100 */
if (&x == &y)
return 0;
y = a + 1;
y = y * y + 17;
return y; /*
Returned value must be > 0 */

unsigned int g1 (void) { return 0; };
unsigned int g2 (void) { return 0; };

unsigned int g (void)
return g1 != g2;

unsigned int h (void)
return memcpy != memmove;

const int j1 = 1;
const int j2 = 1;

unsigned int j (void)
return &j1 != &j2;

  1. Can f ever return zero? An aggressive optimizer could notice that x and y are never used at the same time, and assign them the same memory location. (The optimizer could be designed to conceal the fact that x and y are sharing storage, for example by forcing the comparison to be unequal. Such an application of the ``as if'' rule (subclause would become increasingly difficult to implement in the presence of operations such as writing out &x to a file (using fwrite or the fprintf %p conversion specification) and then reading it back in later in the same run of the program. However, this is irrelevant; the issue is whether or not the implementation is required to conceal it in the first place.)
  2. Can g ever return zero? A optimizer using an intermediate form can easily determine that the two functions have identical effects.
  3. Can h ever return zero? The library function memmove (subclause completely meets the requirements for memcpy (subclause and so they could be implemented using the same code (even if the answer to (b) is no, this could happen if the system library is not implemented in C).
  4. Can j ever return zero? Since the two variables are constants, code which uses j1 instead of j2 anywhere except in an address comparison cannot distinguish them.
a) f can never return zero. There are three return statements:
i) Will always return a value greater than 100.
ii) x and y exist at different addresses. An optimizer may invoke the as-if rule to rearrange code provided it always achieves the required effect. (Subclause ``Identifiers with no linkage denote unique entities.'')
iii) Modulo arithmetic may wrap to produce zero. However, it is not possible to square any number, add 17 and get zero as the result.
b) No, g cannot return zero.
c) Yes, h can return zero.
d) j can never return zero. Subclause 6.7.2 says, ``If the declaration of an identifier for an object has file scope and an initializer, the declaration is an external definition for the identifier.'' Subclause 6.5 says, ``A declaration that also causes storage to be reserved for an object or function named by an identifier is a definition.'' Taken together these two statements can be taken to imply that two file-scope definitions must refer to different objects.
Previous Defect Report < - > Next Defect Report