C++


Enable C++11 standard for GCC on Eclipse CDT

When using Eclipse CDT to write C++, we noticed that it did not enable by default the C++11 standard. Following the steps below, we added the -std=c++11 flag on the GCC C++ Compiler command line arguments enabling the standard for our use.

  1. From the main window of Eclipse, on the list on the left, where your projects are listed, right click on your project and then click Properties from the new menu
  2. In the new window, navigate from the list on the left and expand the C/C++ Build option to view its children and then click the Settings item
  3. In the middle of the window, you will see a new list, expand (if needed) the item GCC C++ Compiler and click on the Miscellaneous child
  4. On the right, a text box named Other Flags will appear, append -std=c++11 to the list of tokens in the box as seen in the image below
  5. Click on the Apply button for the effects to take place and then the OK button to close the properties window

Next time you compile, the -std=c++11 flag will be present on your compiler command line and the C++11 standard will be used.


A peculiar way to get the biggest (max/maximum) value between two variables using bitwise operations

Recently, we wanted to make a test and see how we could find the maximum value between two variables using bitwise operations.

We ended up with the following peculiar way to get the biggest value between two variables using bitwise operations

r = a ^ ((a ^ b) & -(a < b));

The above formula has two modes:

  1. When a < b
  2. When a >= b

 

When a < b then the formula will change as follows:

r = a ^ ((a ^ b) & 0xFFFFFFFF);

As we all (should) know, when one of the operators on a bitwise AND operation is composed only from 1s, then the result is whatever value the other operator was holding.
So, the formula then simplifies as follows:

r = a ^ (a ^ b);

which is equal to

r = b;

because we when we apply twice the same value using XOR on another value, we revert back to the original value (so the second ^a nullifies the first ^a)

 

When a >= b then the formula will change as follows:

r = a ^ ((a ^ b) & 0x00000000);

When one of the operators on a bitwise AND operation is composed only from 0s, then the result is always 0 no matter what value the other operator was holding.
So, the formula then simplifies as follows:

r = a ^ (0x00000000);

which is equal to

r = a;

because when one of the operators in a XOR operation is only composed from 0s then the result will be the value of the other operator, no matter what it was.

 

Full example

Below you will find a full example that compares the execution speed of the two methods by executing each several thousands of time on the same random data.

Bitwise-Max.c (compressed) (6 downloads)

#include <stdio.h>
#include <time.h>
#include <stdlib.h>

int main() {
    {
        const clock_t start = clock();

        srand(10);
        unsigned long int i;
        unsigned int max = 0;
        for (i = 0; i < 1000000000; i++) {
            const int a = rand();
            max = max < a ? a : max;
        }
        const clock_t end = clock();
        const float seconds = (float) (end - start) / CLOCKS_PER_SEC;
        printf("Seconds elapsed %f\tIf statement. Overall max value = %u\n", seconds, max);
    }

    {
        const clock_t start = clock();

        srand(10);
        unsigned long int i;
        unsigned int max = 0;
        for (i = 0; i < 1000000000; i++) {
            const int a = rand();
            max = a ^ ((a ^ max) & -(a < max));
        }
        const clock_t end = clock();
        const float seconds = (float) (end - start) / CLOCKS_PER_SEC;
        printf("Seconds elapsed %f\tBitwise operation. Overall max value = %u\n", seconds, max);
    }
    return 0;
}

Results

Our results show that using the traditional if statement with assignment is faster than using our formula as expected.
Which makes sense as there is an if statement in the formula as well and then additional operations to get the result, instead of just the assignment.

Seconds elapsed 5.770000 If statement. Overall max value = 2147483647
Seconds elapsed 6.180000 Bitwise operation. Overall max value = 2147483647

10 times bigger input

Seconds elapsed 57.450001 If statement. Overall max value = 2147483647
Seconds elapsed 63.869999 Bitwise operation. Overall max value = 2147483647

CentOS 7: C++: static linking cannot find -lstdc++ -lm and -lc

Recently, we were trying to compile a C++ application with the following compilation command on a CentOS 7 64bit :

g++ -static -O2 -lm -Wall -Wno-unused-result -std=c++11 -DCS_ACADEMY -DONLINE_JUDGE 510152025.cpp -o 510152025;

unfortunately, we got the following errors:

 /usr/bin/ld: cannot find -lstdc++
 /usr/bin/ld: cannot find -lm
 /usr/bin/ld: cannot find -lc
 collect2: error: ld returned 1 exit status

To resolve the issues, we performed the following installations to install the static versions of the glibc and libstdc libraries:

sudo yum install glibc-static libstdc++-static -y;

 


Fedora 26: C++: static linking cannot find -lstdc++ -lm and -lc

Recently, we were trying to compile a C++ application with the following compilation command on a Fedora 26 64bit :

g++ -static -O2 -lm -Wall -Wno-unused-result -std=c++14 -DCS_ACADEMY -DONLINE_JUDGE 510152025.cpp -o 510152025;

unfortunately, we got the following errors:

 /usr/bin/ld: cannot find -lstdc++
 /usr/bin/ld: cannot find -lm
 /usr/bin/ld: cannot find -lc
 collect2: error: ld returned 1 exit status

To resolve the issues, we performed the following installations to install the static versions of the glibc and libstdc libraries:

sudo dnf install glibc-static libstdc++-static -y;

 


C/C++: Get a random number that is in a specific range

Assuming you need to generate a random number that is in a specified range, you can do the following:

//int rand(void) creates a pseudo-random number in the range of 0 to RAND_MAX
//RAND_MAX is defined in stdlib.h and is the largest number rand will return (same as INT_MAX).
const int new_number = (rand() % (maximum_number + 1 - minimum_number)) + minimum_number;

The above code first creates a pseudo-random number that is in the range of [0, RAND_MAX].
Then it will divide it with the width (+1) of the range we want to use (maximum_number + 1 - minimum_number) and get the remainder (modulo).
The modulo will be in the range of [0, maximum_number - minimum_number], so we add to it the value of minimum_number to shift the result to the proper range.
This solution, as demonstrated in the example below, works for negative ranges as well.

Full example of generating 100000 random numbers that are all in the range [-31, 32].

const int maximum_number = 31;
const int minimum_number = -32;
unsigned int i;
for (i = 0; i <= 100000; i++) {
	const int new_number = (rand() % (maximum_number + 1 - minimum_number)) + minimum_number;
	printf("%d\n", new_number);
}

C/C++: Set and Get the name of a pthread

Naming a pthread using meaningful names, can be a very useful feature for debugging multi-threaded applications as it can make your logs very informative.
For this reason, we are presenting two examples demonstrating the use of names in pthreads.

Example 1: The pthread decides for its name

The following code, creates a pthread which later, it will give itself a meaningful name.

pthread_self_named.c (compressed) (29 downloads)
// #define _GNU_SOURCE is needed for the resolution of the following warnings
//warning: implicit declaration of function ‘pthread_setname_np’ [-Wimplicit-function-declaration]
//warning: implicit declaration of function ‘pthread_getname_np’ [-Wimplicit-function-declaration]
#define _GNU_SOURCE
#include <stdio.h>
#include <sys/types.h>
#include <pthread.h>
#include <asm/errno.h>
#include <errno.h>
// #include <stdlib.h> is needed for the resolution of EXIT_SUCCESS
#include <stdlib.h>

//The thread name is a meaningful C language string, whose length is restricted to 16 characters, including the terminating null byte.
#define MAX_LENGTH_PTHREAD_NAME (16)

struct thread_info_t
{
    // Used to identify a thread.
    pthread_t thread_id;
};

// This is the thread that will be called by pthread_create() and it will be executed by the new thread.
void *self_named_thread(void *data)
{
    // We know that the input data pointer is pointing to a thread_info_t so we are casting it to the right type.
    struct thread_info_t *thread_info = (struct thread_info_t *) data;

    const int setname_rv = pthread_setname_np(thread_info->thread_id, "Tom Hanks");
    if (setname_rv)
    {
        errno = setname_rv;
        perror("Could not set pthread name");
    }

    char thread_name[MAX_LENGTH_PTHREAD_NAME];
    const int getname_rv = pthread_getname_np(thread_info->thread_id, thread_name, MAX_LENGTH_PTHREAD_NAME);
    if (getname_rv)
    {
        errno = getname_rv;
        perror("Could not get pthread name");
    }
    //This function always succeeds, returning the calling thread's ID.
    const pthread_t tid = pthread_self();
    //Usually pthread_t is defined as follows:
    //typedef unsigned long int pthread_t;
    //so we print pthread_t as an unsigned long int
    fprintf(stdout, "I am thread with ID '%lu', my name is '%s' and I gave me my name by myself\n", tid, thread_name );

    return NULL;
}

int main()
{
    struct thread_info_t thread_info;

    const int create_rv = pthread_create(&(thread_info.thread_id), NULL, &self_named_thread, (void *) &thread_info);
    if (create_rv)
    {
        errno = create_rv;
        perror("Could not create thread");
        return EXIT_FAILURE;
    }
    // The pthread_join() function suspends execution of the calling thread until the target thread terminates, unless the target thread has already terminated.
    const int join_rv = pthread_join(thread_info.thread_id, NULL);
    if (join_rv)
    {
        errno = create_rv;
        perror("Could not join thread");
    }
    return EXIT_SUCCESS;
}

pthread_self_named.c (compressed) (29 downloads)

Example 2: The parent decides for the pthread name

The next code, creates a pthread and the parent gives the thread a meaningful name.

pthread_named_by_parent.c (compressed) (31 downloads)
// #define _GNU_SOURCE is needed for the resolution of the following warnings
//warning: implicit declaration of function ‘pthread_setname_np’ [-Wimplicit-function-declaration]
//warning: implicit declaration of function ‘pthread_getname_np’ [-Wimplicit-function-declaration]
#define _GNU_SOURCE
#include <stdio.h>
#include <sys/types.h>
#include <pthread.h>
#include <asm/errno.h>
#include <errno.h>
// #include <stdlib.h> is needed for the resolution of EXIT_SUCCESS
#include <stdlib.h>
// #include <unistd.h> is needed for the resolution of unsigned int sleep(unsigned int seconds);
#include <unistd.h>

//The thread name is a meaningful C language string, whose length is restricted to 16 characters, including the terminating null byte.
#define MAX_LENGTH_PTHREAD_NAME (16)

struct thread_info_t
{
    // Used to identify a thread.
    pthread_t thread_id;
};

// This is the thread that will be called by pthread_create() and it will be executed by the new thread.
void *self_named_thread(void *data)
{
    // We know that the input data pointer is pointing to a thread_info_t so we are casting it to the right type.
    struct thread_info_t *thread_info = (struct thread_info_t *) data;

    //Added an artificial delay for the sake of the example.
    //Making sure the parent thread gave the pthread a name.
    sleep(1);

    char thread_name[MAX_LENGTH_PTHREAD_NAME];
    const int getname_rv = pthread_getname_np(thread_info->thread_id, thread_name, MAX_LENGTH_PTHREAD_NAME);
    if (getname_rv)
    {
        errno = getname_rv;
        perror("Could not get pthread name");
    }
    //This function always succeeds, returning the calling thread's ID.
    const pthread_t tid = pthread_self();
    //Usually pthread_t is defined as follows:
    //typedef unsigned long int pthread_t;
    //so we print pthread_t as an unsigned long int
    fprintf(stdout, "I am thread with ID '%lu', my name is '%s' and my parent gave me my name\n", tid, thread_name );

    return NULL;
}

int main()
{
    struct thread_info_t thread_info;

    const int create_rv = pthread_create(&(thread_info.thread_id), NULL, &self_named_thread, (void *) &thread_info);
    if (create_rv)
    {
        errno = create_rv;
        perror("Could not create thread");
        return EXIT_FAILURE;
    }

    const int setname_rv = pthread_setname_np(thread_info.thread_id, "Bob Marley");
    if (setname_rv)
    {
        errno = setname_rv;
        perror("Could not set pthread name");
    }

    // The pthread_join() function suspends execution of the calling thread until the target thread terminates, unless the target thread has already terminated.
    const int join_rv = pthread_join(thread_info.thread_id, NULL);
    if (join_rv)
    {
        errno = create_rv;
        perror("Could not join thread");
    }
    return EXIT_SUCCESS;
}

pthread_named_by_parent.c (compressed) (31 downloads)

C/C++: Change position of bytes 1 and 2 with bytes 3 and 4 in a 32bit unsigned integer

The following function will produce a new 32bit value where bytes 1 and 2 were moved in place of bytes 3 and 4 and vice versa.

reorder-bytes.c (compressed) (102 downloads)

#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdlib.h>

const unsigned int move_bytes_1_2_after_4 (const unsigned int input) {
  //We get the two leftmost bytes and move them to the positions of the two rightmost bytes.
  const unsigned int first_two_bytes = (input >> 16) & 0x0000FFFF;
  //We get the two rightmost bytes and move them to the positions of the two leftmost bytes.
  const unsigned int last_two_bytes = (input << 16) & 0xFFFF0000;
  //We combine the two temporary values together to produce the new 32bit value where bytes 1 and 2 were moved in place of bytes 3 and 4 and vice versa.
  return (first_two_bytes | last_two_bytes);
}

int main(void) {
  const unsigned int value = 0xABCD0123;
  printf ("Original: 0x%08x\n", value);
  const unsigned int modified = move_bytes_1_2_after_4(value);
  printf ("Modified: 0x%08x\n", modified);
  return EXIT_SUCCESS;
}

Executing the above code will produce the following output:

Original: 0xabcd0123
Modified: 0x0123abcd

reorder-bytes.c (compressed) (102 downloads)


C++ How to make cout not use scientific notation

To force cout to print numbers exactly as they are and prevent it from using the scientific notation, we can use the std::fixed I/O manipulator as follows

#include <iostream>

using namespace std;

int main()
{
    std::cout << "The number 0.0001 in fixed:      " << std::fixed << 0.0001 << endl
              << "The number 0.0001 in default:    " << std::defaultfloat << 0.0001 << endl;

    std::cout << "The number 1000000000.0 in fixed:      " << std::fixed << 1000000000.0 << endl
              << "The number 1000000000.0 in default:    " << std::defaultfloat << 1000000000.0 << endl;
return 0;
}

Output

The number 0.0001 in fixed:      0.000100
The number 0.0001 in default:    0.0001
The number 1000000000.0 in fixed:      1000000000.000000
The number 1000000000.0 in default:    1e+09

C++: “undefined reference to” templated class function

In case you have a project where you use a templated class that is split in its own header (.h) and source (.cpp) files, if you compile the class, into an object file (.o), separately from the code that uses it, you will get the undefined reference to error at linking.

Lets assume we have Stack.cpp and Stack.h which define a templated stack using vectors. And main.cpp that uses this class after including Stack.h.

If you try to compile these files as mentioned above, one by one, later you will get a linking error saying undefined reference to for the methods of the class.

The code in the template is not sufficient to instruct the compiler to produce the methods that are needed by main.cpp (e.g. Stack<int>::push(...) and Stack<string>::push(...)) as the compiler does not know, while compiling Stack.cpp by itself, the data types it should provide support for.

The reason it allows you to compile these incomplete objects is the following:

  • main.cpp: the compiler will implicitly instantiate the template classes Stack<int> and Stack<string> because those particular instantiations are requested in main.cpp. Since the implementations of those member functions are not in main.cpp, nor in any header file included in main.cpp (particularly Stack.h), the compiler will not include complete versions of those functions in main.o and it will expect to find them in another object during linking.
  • Stack.cpp: the compiler won’t compile the instantiations of Stack<int> and Stack<string> neither as there are no implicit or explicit instantiations of them in Stack.cpp nor Stack.h.

So in the end, neither of the .o files contain the actual implementations of Stack<int> and Stack<string> and the linking fails.

Solutions

Solution 1 : Explicitly instantiate the template

At the end of Stack.cpp, you can explicitly instantiate all needed templates.
In our example we would add:

template class Stack<int>;
template class Stack<std::string>;

This will ensure that, when the compiler is compiling Stack.cpp that it will explicitly compile all the code needed for the Stack<int> and Stack<std::string> classes.

Using this method, you should ensure that all the of the implementation is placed into one .cpp file and that the explicit instantation is placed after the definition of all the functions (for example, at the end of the file).

A problem with this method is that it forces you to update the Stack.cpp file each time you want to add support for a new data type (or remove one).

Solution 2 : Move the implementation code into the header file

Move all the source code of Stack.cpp to Stack.h, and then delete Stack.cpp. Using this method you do not need to manually instantiate all possible data types that are needed and thus you do not need to modify code of the class. As a side-effect, if you use the header file in many other source files, it will compile the functions of the header file in each source. This can make compilation slower but it will not create any compilation/linking problems, as the linker will ignore the duplicate implementations.

Solution 3 : Move the implementation code into a new header file and include it in the original header file

Rename Stack.cpp to Stack_impl.h, and then include Stack_impl.h from Stack.h to keep the implementation in a separate file from the declaration. This method will behave exactly like Solution 2.


C: Code to time execution with accuracy greater than a second

The following application computes the time needed for a process to finish using the method clock().
The result of the application is the time in seconds as a floating number (where 1.0 = 1 second).
It provides greater accuracy than seconds as the estimation is done using processor time used by the program.

#include <stdio.h>
#include <time.h>
#include <stdlib.h>
#include <limits.h>

int main()
{

    /* clock_t clock(void)
     The clock() function returns an approximation of processor time used by the program.
     The value returned is the CPU time used so far as a clock_t,
     to get the number of seconds used, divide by CLOCKS_PER_SEC.
     On error it returns -1. */
    const clock_t start = clock();

    /* svoid srand(unsigned int __seed)
     The srand() function sets its argument as the seed for a new sequence of pseudo-random
     integers to be returned by rand(). These sequences are repeatable by calling srand() with the
     same seed value.
     If no seed value is provided, the rand() function is automatically seeded with a value of 1. */
    /* time_t time(time_t *__timer)
     time() returns the time since the Epoch (00:00:00 UTC, January 1, 1970), measured in seconds.
     If the __timer variable is not NULL, the return value is also stored there. */
    srand(time(NULL));
    unsigned long i;
    for (i = 0; i < 10000000; i++)
    {
        /* int rand(void)
         The rand() function returns a pseudo-random integer in the range 0 to RAND_MAX inclusive. */
        rand();
    }
    const clock_t end = clock();

    /* ISO/IEC 9899:1999 7.23.1: Components of time
    The macro `CLOCKS_PER_SEC' is an expression with type `clock_t' that is
    the number per second of the value returned by the `clock' function. */
    /* CAE XSH, Issue 4, Version 2: <time.h>
    The value of CLOCKS_PER_SEC is required to be 1 million on all
    XSI-conformant systems. */
    const float seconds = (float) (end - start) / CLOCKS_PER_SEC;

    printf("Seconds elapsed %f\n", seconds);
    return 0;
}