DB Seminar [Spring 2020] : Zero-Overhead Deterministic C++ Exceptions (“Herb Exceptions”)

Event Date: Monday March 23, 2020
Event Time: 04:30pm EST
Speaker: Rohan Aggarwal

Title: Zero-Overhead Deterministic C++ Exceptions

In this talk, Rohan Aggarwal will present a new proposal to the C++ standard for zero-overhead exceptions.

A fundamental reason why C++ is successful and loved is its adherence to Stroustrup’s zero-overhead principle: You don’t pay for what you don’t use, and if you do use a feature you can’t reasonably code it better by hand. In the C++ language itself, there are only two features that violate the zero-overhead principle, exception handling and RTTI – and, unsurprisingly, these are also the only two C++ language features that every C++ compiler has switches to turn off and that are regularly discouraged or even banned. This matters because not using these features is the largest current cause of fragmentation of the C++ community into incompatible dialects, and the cause of recurring problems including type confusion security vulnerabilities arising from “didn’t down-cast using dynamic_cast because that would be too slow.” This talk is about ongoing long-term efforts to try to unify the community in this area, not by replacing exceptions and RTTI, but by doubling down: fully embracing exceptions and RTTI, and improving them so they can be zero-overhead too.

The proposal document is here and a video by its namesake is here.

Zoom Link: