Which values of x and y will cause a crash with some C compilers?

int f(int x, int y) {
    return (y==0) ? 0 : (x/y);
  • \$\begingroup\$ Since C's ternary operator shortcuts, I would say none would. This question doesn't seem to fit the format for this site, which is focused on program puzzles and code golf. See the faq for details codegolf.stackexchange.com/faq. \$\endgroup\$ – Steven Rumbalski Jan 12 '12 at 14:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ This isn't code golf, but is a puzzle. There is an answer, and it's just a couple of numbers. \$\endgroup\$ – ugoren Jan 12 '12 at 14:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ I stand corrected. \$\endgroup\$ – Steven Rumbalski Jan 12 '12 at 14:59
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Actually, judging by the K&R book, this function really must never crash. But by the ANSI C standard, the behavior in the particular crashing case is undefined, and with x86 compilers it crashes. \$\endgroup\$ – ugoren Jan 12 '12 at 15:05
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @dmckee, If you give the right answer, you're the winner. What cretirion could be more clear and objective? There's only one answer (or do you have another example?) \$\endgroup\$ – ugoren Jan 12 '12 at 18:10

-2147483648 (INT_MIN) and -1

#include <stdio.h>
#include <limits.h>
int f(int x, int y) {
    return (y==0) ? 0 : (x/y);
int main() {
    int r = f(INT_MIN, -1);
    printf("%d\n", r);
    return 0;

$ gcc -Wall division.c && ./a.out # => zsh: floating point exception ./a.out

  • \$\begingroup\$ Indeed. Though this should give a warning, because 2147483648 isn't a valid integer. \$\endgroup\$ – ugoren Jan 12 '12 at 14:57
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Yes, that's why I used INT_MIN after, to use a valid int. I guess the reason is 2147483648 is not a valid int, since INT_MAX is 2^31-1 with 32-bit int. \$\endgroup\$ – eregon Jan 12 '12 at 14:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah. Two's complement. I missed that. \$\endgroup\$ – Steven Rumbalski Jan 12 '12 at 15:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, it should compile cleanly with INT_MIN (which is -2147483648). \$\endgroup\$ – ugoren Jan 12 '12 at 15:02

The right answer is already given, but I immediately thought about Microsoft Pex.

Pex automatically generates test suites with high code coverage. Right from the Visual Studio code editor, Pex finds interesting input-output values of your methods, which you can save as a small test suite with high code coverage. Microsoft Pex is a Visual Studio add-in for testing .NET Framework applications

After adding your puzzle in the sandbox site, it finds the answer in a few seconds, the same as eregons answer. (click ask pex)

Note: it does it in C#, but the language is not really relevant.

  • x: int.MinValue
  • y: -1
  • Exception: OverflowException
  • Message: Arithmetic operation resulted in an overflow.
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Nice. It surely doesn't brute-force it, because it wouldn't end in a few seconds. I guess someone in MS realized that numbers around 0 and MAX_INT are always interesting. \$\endgroup\$ – ugoren Jan 17 '12 at 15:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hopefully it's a little more clever than that. It might look at (x/y) and know that INT_MIN, -1, 0 etc. are all problem cases for that expression, and try to reverse engineer a way to produce those values at the time of evaluation. \$\endgroup\$ – Clueless Jan 18 '12 at 21:01

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