Midterm Assignment

1. Types, Classes, Objects and their State

1.1 Object Definition

Assuming you are confronted with a class that supports the following use case:

DateParser date_parser;

auto day = date_parser.day_of_week();

What is your objection to this? How would you change the interface of class DateParser?

1.2 Standard Object Semantics

Given the following implementation of class SemanticSurprise:

class SemanticSurprise {

  SemanticSurprise(int value)
  : _value(value) { }

  SemanticSurprise(const SemanticSurprise & other)
  : _value(other._value) { }

  bool operator==(const SemanticSurprise & other) const {
    return _value == other._value;

  int value() {
    return _value;

  int _value;
  • Are there compiler errors? If so: why?
  • Name the method/operation on SemanticSurprise in every line marked with Op?, including those that lead to compiler errors.
  • Which values are returned in the lines marked with value? (given the line does not lead to a compiler error). Explain why these values are returned.
  • How can this implementation be simplified? What is the requirement for this simplification?
SemanticSurprise s1;          // <-- Op?
s1.value();                   // <-- value?

SemanticSurprise s2(4);       // <-- Op?
s2.value();                   // <-- value?

SemanticSurprise s3 = s2;     // <-- Op?
s3.value();                   // <-- value?

SemanticSurprise s4(s3);      // <-- Op?
s4 == s3;                     // <-- value?
s2 != s3;                     // <-- value?

Given the implementation of SemanticSurprise above, the following use case leads to a compiler error:

void print_surprise(const SemanticSurprise & s) {
  std::cout << "SemanticSurprise.value: " << s.value() << std::endl;

  • Explain the compiler error and how the implementation of SemanticSurprise has to be corrected.

1.3 Resource Ownership

Consider the following use case:

// ...
if (condition) {
        LogFileReader log_reader("performance.log");
        if (log_reader.lines().size() > 1024) { return; }
// ...
  • Judging from its usage illustrated above: which rule must be satisfied in the implementation of class LogFileReader (or one of its members)?
  • Name a popular technique in resource management that depends on this rule, and briefly explain its principle.

2. Iterators

2.1 Algorithm Basics

The following algorithm dereferences and returns a given iterator’s successor unless the successor’s referenced value matches some condition. The algorithm is semantically correct but does not compile for iterators of some containers.

  • Which containers? Briefly explain why the algorithm does not work for these and how it has to be changed.
template <typename Iterator, typename Value = typename Iterator::value_type>
Value next_value_or_default(Iterator it, Iterator end, Value default) {
  if (it == end || it+1 == end) { return default; }
  return it[1];

2.2 Container Wrapper

The STL’s std::vector guarantess that its elements are stored in a contiguous memory region and is therefore compatible to C-style arrays. The member function .data() returns a pointer to the vector’s underlying raw memory.

For many hardware-tuning techniques, data is accessed in chunks. Assuming a std::vector<uint32_t> and 64 bytes per cache line, for example, vector elements could be loaded in chunks of 64/(32/8) = 16 elements.

  • Write a container wrapper

    cpppc::chunks<B, T, Container>

    that provides a sequential container interface on elements in Container in chunks of maximum size B bytes.

The template signature is derived from std::stack, a similar wrapper type defined in the STL:


You only need to implement a minimal interface like constructors and begin(), end(), however.

Example use case:

std::vector<uint16_t> v_us;

//                                    ,-- wrapped container
//                                    |
cpppc::chunks<128, uint16t_t, std::vector<uint16_t>> v_chunks(v_us);
//             |      |
//             |      '-- element type
//             |
//             '-- maximum size of a
//                 single chunk in bytes

// Iterate chunks:
auto first_chunk = v_chunks.begin();
auto num_chunks  = std::distance(v_chunks.begin(), v_chunks.end());
                   // --> 128/(16/8) = 64

// Iterators on elements in a chunk:
uint16_t first_chunk_elem = *first_chunk.begin();
uint16_t third_chunk_elem = first_chunk[2];

// Pointer to data in second chunk:
uint16_t * chunk_1_data = v_chunks[1].data();
// Pointer to data in third chunk (= end pointer of data in second chunk):
uint16_t * chunk_2_data = v_chunks[2].data();

Note that you need two iterator types:

  • cpppc::chunks<...>::iterator for iterating chunks; it references cpppc::chunks<...>::value_type (= type of single chunks)
  • and another iterator type to access chunk elements.


The cpppc::chunks container adapter should be implemented as a view, that is: without copying elements of the underlying vector.

2.X Bonus

If you want to implement more sophisticated type size calculations like alignment requirements, refer to the C++ type support utilities:


Or make yourself familiar with the boost Align library (brace for impact):


3. Algorithms, Function Templates, Type Deduction

  • Implement a function interface void log10(X) that accepts a numeric value of type X and:

    • prints the base 10 logarithm of the value if it is an integer
    • prints the base 10 logarithm of the value’s square root if it is a floating point value
  • Implement a function interface void print_walk(T begin, T end) that accepts a range of iterators of type T and prints all values in the range. In this, the iteration order depends on the iterator type:

    • for random-access iterators, the order should be (pseudo) random but every element in the range must only be printed once
    • for input iterators, elements are printed in order from begin to end-1
    • for bidirectional iterators, elements are printed in reverse order from end-1 to begin

4. Thread-Safety

4.1 Parallelism and STL Containers

Given the following operations on an instance of std::vector, consider operations in the same table row to be executed by multiple threads in parallel:

// Shared vector instance accessed by thread A and thread B:
std::vector<int> v;

// thread A:                    | thread B:
// =============================|==============================
   std::vector<int> a;          | std::vector<int> b;
// -----------------------------+------------------------------
   int xa = v[3];               | int xb = v[4];
// -----------------------------+------------------------------
   v[3] = 123;                  | v[4] = 345;
// -----------------------------+------------------------------
   v[3] = 123;                  | int xb = v[3];
// -----------------------------+------------------------------
   v.push_back(24);             | v.size();
// -----------------------------+------------------------------
   v.back();                    | v.push_back(54);
// -----------------------------+------------------------------
   v.begin();                   | v.push_back(34);
// -----------------------------+------------------------------
   v.back();                    | v.pop_back();
// -----------------------------+------------------------------
  • For every pair of operation on the same table row, give a brief explanation on the guarantees with respect to thread-safety according to the C++ standard.

4.2 Producer-Consumer Problem

Simply put, one thread is producing goods and another thread is consuming goods. We want the consumer thread to wait using a condition variable, and we want goods.push(i) to be mutually exclusive to goods.pop().

We are letting c++ and c– be surrogates for this mutual exclusion, since we can easily check if we correctly end up with 0 in the end.

Run the code as it is, and you will see that the net value is way off:


I know there is an easier solution, however the condition variable approach is more efficient in many cases and not as commonly known as it should be.

#include <iostream>
#include <thread>
#include <condition_variable>
#include <mutex>
#include <chrono>
#include <queue>
using namespace std;

int main() {
    int c = 0;
    bool done = false;
    queue<int> goods;

    thread producer([&]() {
        for (int i = 0; i < 500; ++i) {

        done = true;

    thread consumer([&]() {
        while (!done) {
            while (!goods.empty()) {

    cout << "Net: " << c << endl;