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Re: [ub] bit_cast and indeterminate values

From: JF Bastien <cxx_at_[hidden]>
Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2019 22:45:12 -0700
Thanks Richard, your description matches the original design intent, and
what I thought we'd worded through LEWG / LWG / Core reviews.

On Thu, Jun 20, 2019 at 6:50 PM Richard Smith <richardsmith_at_[hidden]>

> On Thu, Jun 20, 2019 at 2:22 PM Richard Smith <richardsmith_at_[hidden]>
> wrote:
>> As currently specified, bit_cast from an indeterminate value produces an
>> unspecified value rather than an indeterminate value. That means this can't
>> be implemented by a simple load on some implementations, and instead will
>> require some kind of removing-the-taint-of-an-uninitialized-value operation
>> to be performed. (A similar concern applies to reading from padding bits.)
>> Is that the intent?
> I chatted with JF about this. The intent is as follows:
> * bits of the input that don't have defined values result in the
> corresponding bit of the output being "bad"
> * if any part of a scalar object is "bad", that object has an
> indeterminate value

Something to note above: Richard pointed out that the Standard currently
doesn't track bits. We could technically track them and have finer
granularity, but that seems much bigger than bit_cast and is worth doing as
a separate effort, if at all. What Richard proposes still matches the
design intent, even if it's not as constrained as it could be (basically,
we could track bits... but really you're playing with fire if you need

Some examples:
> struct A { char c; /* char padding : 8; */ short s; };
> struct B { char x[4]; };
> B one() {
> A a = {1, 2};
> return std::bit_cast<B>(a);
> }
> In one(), the second byte of the object representation of a is bad. That
> means that the second byte of the produced B object is bad, so x[1] in the
> produced B object is an indeterminate value. The above function, if
> declared constexpr, would be usable in constant expressions so long as you
> don't look at one().x[1].
> A two() {
> B b;
> b.x[0] = 'a';
> b.x[2] = 1;
> b.x[3] = 2;
> return std::bit_cast<A>(b);
> }
> In two(), the second byte of the object representation of b is bad. But a
> bit_cast to A doesn't care because it never looks at that byte. The above
> function returns an A with a fully-defined value. If declared constexpr, it
> would produce a normal, fully-initialized value.
> int three() {
> int n;
> return std::bit_cast<int>(n);
> }
> In three(), the entirety of n is bad. A bit_cast from it produces an int
> whose value is indeterminate. And because we have an expression of
> non-byte-like type that produced an indeterminate value, the behavior is
> undefined.
> B four() {
> int n;
> return std::bit_cast<B>(n);
> }
> In four(), just like three(), the entirety of n is bad, so the scalar
> subobjects of B are bad too. But because they're of byte-like type, that's
> OK: we can copy them about and produce them from prvalue expressions.
> I think the above is captured by the following wording change:
> Change in [bit.cast]p1:
> """
> Returns: An object of type To. Each bit of the value representation of the
> result is equal to the
> corresponding bit in the object representation of from. Padding bits of
> the To object are unspecified.
> If there is no value of type To corresponding to the value representation
> produced, the behavior is
> undefined. If there are multiple such values, which value is produced is
> unspecified.
> <ins>A bit in the value representation of the result is indeterminate if
> does not correspond to a bit in the value
> representation of from or corresponds to a bit of an object that is not
> within its lifetime or has an indeterminate value ([basic.indet]).
> For each bit in the value representation of the result that is
> indeterminate,
> the smallest object containing that bit has an indeterminate value;

The above sentence makes me wonder, what effect does it have on:

struct A { char x[4]; };
union B { int i; short s; };

A a;
a.x[1] = a.x[2] = a.x[3] = 0;
B b = bit_cast<B>(a);


> the behavior is undefined unless that object is of unsigned ordinary
> character type or std::byte type.

What's the intent / effect of the above?

> The result does not otherwise contain any indeterminate values.</ins>
> """

Received on 2019-06-21 07:45:26