[llvm-dev] [RFC] Coding Standards: "prefer `int` for regular arithmetic, use `unsigned` only for bitmask and when you intend to rely on wrapping behavior."

David Greene via llvm-dev llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org
Wed Jun 12 09:56:52 PDT 2019

Krzysztof Parzyszek via llvm-dev <llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org> writes:

>> The underlying problem is that the C family of languages mixes two
>> orthogonal properties: value range and overflow behavior. There is
>> no unsigned type with undefined wraparound. So the question becomes:
>> What property is more important to reflect? Do we want catch
>> unintended wraparound behavior using a sanitizer/make optimizations
>> based on it?
> That's a valid argument, but I suspect that the vast majority of loops
> using an unsigned induction variable, start at an explicit 0 and go up
> by 1.  Such loops cannot overflow, so there is nothing to catch there.

I have in fact seen loops that rely on overflow of induction variables,
as crazy as that sounds.

But again, for loops it's not (directly) about overflow as much as it is
about optimization.  You're leaving a lot of potential performance on
the floor with unsigned, precisely because compilers have to guard
against overflowing induction variables.


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