[Vm-dev] 3 Bugs in LargeInteger primitives

David T. Lewis lewis at mail.msen.com
Thu Aug 30 01:31:05 UTC 2012

On Wed, Aug 29, 2012 at 01:24:39PM +0200, Stefan Marr wrote:
> Hi Nicolas:
> On 29 Aug 2012, at 12:18, Nicolas Cellier wrote:
> > 
> > Beside these bugs, when I read the code, I'm quite sure it's a nest of
> > future bugs because there are many other attempts to catch overflow in
> > post-condition (like testing that addition of two positive is negative
> > when an underflow occurs) that technically rely on explicitely
> > Undefined Behaviour (UB).

See below. Tests such as this are essential, and they they do *not* rely on
undefined behavior if the C variables are properly declared.

> I guess http://forum.world.st/Is-bytecodePrimMultiply-correct-td3869580.html
> is related too.
> I am not sure whether that got changed in the VMs, but sounds very much like the same kind of problem. (undefined behavior and overflows)
> Since C is undefined in that regard, what are the options?
> Hand-crafted assembly for all relevant platforms?
> Are there libraries that abstract from these things?

A good general solution is to perform the arithmetic using variables declared
as, or cast to, unsigned. The ambiguity in C language pertains only to signed
twos complement arithmetic, so if the operations are performed on twos complement
values that are declared unsigned, then no compiler optimization is possible and
the results are unambiguous regardless of compiler behavior. Results of the
unsigned operations may be tested for overflow, then cast back to signed integer
if the result is intended to be interpreted as a signed integer.


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