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Subject: [boost] [iterator] UB when implicitly using default constructed counting_iterator<unsigned>
From: Peter Sommerlad (peter.sommerlad_at_[hidden])
Date: 2012-11-30 04:14:47

Hi Jeffrey, hi all,

I believe the usability of counting iterator could be improved, by value-initializing its Iterator type in the default constructor, because integral types won't be initialized by its default constructor. This can lead to hard to recognize user errors, e.g., when wrapping such a counting iterator with a filter iterator.

counting_iterator is special in that sense, because to my understanding it is intended to adapt integral types to become iterators. And a default initialized scalar type, isn't.

I suggest a one line change:

    counting_iterator() { }

should become

    counting_iterator() : super_t(Incrementable()) { }

The following example program shows the interesting UB, because the 3rd argument of make_filter_iterator, default constructs a counting_iterator<unsigned>().

Any thoughts? Objections? Teachings...


#include <iostream>
#include <boost/iterator/filter_iterator.hpp>
#include <boost/iterator/counting_iterator.hpp>
#include <algorithm>
#include <iterator>
#include <functional>

struct is_prime{
        bool operator()(unsigned int val) const {
        if (val < 2) return false;
        using std::placeholders::_1;
        auto ce=boost::make_counting_iterator(val);
        return ce==std::find_if_not(boost::make_counting_iterator(2u),ce,
int main(){
        // if the following line is omitted we have undefined behavior, because of uninitialized unsigned value
        // ,boost::make_counting_iterator(std::numeric_limits<unsigned>::max()) // must be different from above value
                        ),40,std::ostream_iterator<unsigned>{std::cout,", "});


Prof. Peter Sommerlad
Institut für Software: Bessere Software - Einfach, Schneller!
HSR Hochschule für Technik Rapperswil
Oberseestr 10, Postfach 1475, CH-8640 Rapperswil
tel:+41 55 222 49 84 == mobile:+41 79 432 23 32
fax:+41 55 222 46 29 == mailto:peter.sommerlad_at_[hidden]

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