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Language: C++
Expertise: Intermediate
Sep 5, 2000

Understanding Stack Overflow

The stack is a region of memory on which local automatic variables are created and function arguments are passed. The implementation allocates a default stack size per process. On modern operating systems, a typical stack has at least 1 megabyte, which is sufficient for most purposes. Under anomalous conditions, the program exceeds its stack limit. This causes a stack overflow. The two most common causes for a stack overflow is an infinite recursion, as in:

int f(){
int g() {

f() calls g(), which in turn calls f() and so on. Eventually, the stack overflows. Another common cause for stack overflow is an attempt to create a large array on the stack, for example:

int main()
 int n[10000000]; // array is too large 
 int j =0; //j's address exceeds the stack's limits, error

If your program crashes due to a stack overflow, check for infinite recursion or too large local objects.

Danny Kalev
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