re: I'm an Expert in Memory Management & Segfaults, Ask Me Anything! VIEW POST


I know this question is going to come so I'm going to ask it myself: what do you think of languages like Rust?

Do you think that, in some cases, isn't a machine going to be better than a human at dealing with memory management anyway?


See the other question in this thread re: Rust. Long story short, it's a cool language that I haven't yet had time to learn.

In terms of man vs machine, the answer is that "computers are inherently stupid." When we are trusting the machine to manage the memory, what we're really doing is trusting someone else's code to manage the memory. In either case, some human is responsible for the memory handling logic. Therefore, it really depends on the code you're trusting!

The benefit to trusting the language's built-in memory management is that the code is almost certainly more rigorously reviewed and tested. That's where the apparent added trustworthiness comes from.

A lot of times, I will trust automatic memory management tools over my own abilities. std::unique_ptr and std::shared_ptr, for example, are excellent tools that help minimize memory mistakes (because, after all, I'm only human). However, there are times that the logic I need would become too convoluted with those magic pointer classes, so I'll resort to manual management.

It's basically a balancing act between simplicity (the more complicated the code, the more chance for bugs) and safety (reducing the chances of a memory leak). If you write really complicated code to use "memory safe" tools, you can still wind up making a royal hash of it, when a simple pointer would have meant 80% less logic, and thus prevented those issues.


Thanks for the detailed explanation!

I wonder if in the future there will be attempts to introduce AIs into managed memory systems, to increase what you call "apparent added trustworthiness".

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