c++ - work - print content of pointer in c




How do I safely and sensibly determine whether a pointer points somewhere into a specified buffer? (2)

As far as I can tell, this is a portable implementation of the function I'm after for all possible implementations:

#ifdef UINTPTR_MAX

bool points_into_buffer(std::uintptr_t p, std::uintptr_t buf, std::size_t len)
{
  const auto diff = p + 0u - buf;
  if (diff < len)
    // #1
    if (reinterpret_cast<char *>(p) == reinterpret_cast<char *>(buf) + diff)
      return true;
  for (std::size_t n = 0; n != len; n++)
    if (reinterpret_cast<char *>(p) == reinterpret_cast<char *>(buf) + n)
      // #2
      if (reinterpret_cast<char *>(p) - reinterpret_cast<char *>(buf) != diff)
        return true;
  return false;
}

template <typename T>
bool points_into_buffer(T *p, T *buf, std::size_t len)
{
  return points_into_buffer(reinterpret_cast<std::uintptr_t>(p),
                            reinterpret_cast<std::uintptr_t>(buf),
                            len * sizeof(T));
}

#else

template <typename T>
bool points_into_buffer(T *p, T *buf, std::size_t len)
{
  for (std::size_t n = 0; n != len; n++)
    if (p == buf + n)
      return true;
  return false;
}

#endif

In general, diff is not guaranteed to have a meaningful value. But that's okay: the function returns true if and only if it finds some n such that reinterpret_cast<char *>(p) == reinterpret_cast<char *>(buf) + n. It only uses diff as a hint to find the value of n faster.

It relies on the compiler optimising conditions that are not necessarily known at compile time in general, but are known at compile time for a particular platform. The conditions for the if statements marked as #1 and #2 are determined by GCC at compile time to always be true and false respectively, because of how diff is defined, allowing GCC to see that no useful action is performed inside the loop, and allowing the entire loop to be dropped.

The generated code for points_into_buffer<char> and points_into_buffer<int> looks like:

bool points_into_buffer(char*, char*, unsigned int):
        movl    4(%esp), %edx
        movl    $1, %eax
        movl    12(%esp), %ecx
        subl    8(%esp), %edx
        cmpl    %edx, %ecx
        ja      L11
        xorl    %eax, %eax
L11:    rep ret

bool points_into_buffer(int*, int*, unsigned int):
        movl    4(%esp), %edx
        movl    12(%esp), %eax
        subl    8(%esp), %edx
        leal    0(,%eax,4), %ecx
        movl    $1, %eax
        cmpl    %edx, %ecx
        ja      L19
        xorl    %eax, %eax
L19:    rep ret

On systems where std::uintptr_t is not available, or where addresses are more complicated than simple integers, the loop is used instead.

I'm looking to implement a function that determines whether a given pointer points into a given buffer. The specification:


template <typename T>
bool points_into_buffer (T *p, T *buf, std::size_t len);

If there is some n, 0 <= n && n < len, for which p == buf + n, returns true.

Otherwise, if there is some n, 0 <= n && n < len * sizeof(T), for which reinterpret_cast<char *>(p) == reinterpret_cast<char *>(buf) + n, the behaviour is undefined.

Otherwise, returns false.


The obvious implementation would look something like

template <typename T>
bool points_into_buffer (T *p, T *buf, std::size_t len) {
    return p >= buf && p < buf + len;
}

but that has undefined behaviour in standard C++: relational comparisons of pointers are only defined for pointers into the same array.

An alternative would be to use the standard library's comparer objects:

template <typename T>
bool points_into_buffer (T *p, T *buf, std::size_t len) {
    return std::greater_equal<T *>()(p, buf) && std::less<T *>()(p, buf + len);
}

which is guaranteed to return true when I want it to return true, and avoids undefined behaviour, but allows for false positives: given int a; int b;, it allows a result of true for points_into_buffer(&a, &b, 1).

It can be implemented as a loop:

template <typename T>
bool points_into_buffer (T *p, T *buf, std::size_t len) {
    for (std::size_t i = 0; i != len; i++)
        if (p == buf + i)
            return true;
    return false;
}

However, compilers have trouble optimising away that loop.

Is there a valid way of writing this, where with current compilers and optimisations enabled, the result is determined in constant time?


If you cast the pointers to large enough unsigned integers and add number of bytes instead of number of objects, the undefined behavior goes away.

template <typename T>
bool points_into_buffer (T *p, T *buf, std::size_t len) {
    uintptr_t ip = (uintptr_t)p;
    uintptr_t ibuf = (uintptr_t)buf;
    return ip >= ibuf && ip < (ibuf + sizeof(T) * len);
}

This code doesn't detect if p is not correctly aligned, but you could easily add a test with a %.





undefined-behavior