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Tuesday, September 17 • 16:45 - 17:45
There Are No Zero-cost Abstractions

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C++ is often described as providing zero-cost abstractions. Libraries offer up facilities documented as such. And of course, users read all of these advertisements and believe that the abstractions they are using are truly zero-cost.

Sadly, there is no truth in advertising here, and there are no zero-cost abstractions.

This talk will dive into what we mean by "zero-cost abstractions", and explain why it is at best misleading and at worst completely wrong to describe libraries this way. It will show case studies of where this has led to significant problems in practice as libraries are designed or used in unscalable and unsustainable ways. Finally, it will suggest a different framing and approach for discussing abstraction costs in modern C++ software.


Tuesday September 17, 2019 16:45 - 17:45 MDT
Aurora A