CppCon 2017: How to Write a Custom Allocator—Bob Steagall

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While we wait for this year’s event, we’re featuring videos of some of the 100+ talks from CppCon 2017 for you to enjoy. Here is today’s feature:

How to Write a Custom Allocator

by Bob Steagall

(watch on YouTube) (watch on Channel 9)

Summary of the talk:

You'd like to improve the performance of your application with regard to memory management, and you believe this can be accomplished by writing a custom allocator. But where do you start? Modern C++ brings many improvements to the standard allocator model, but with those improvements come several issues that must be addressed when designing a new allocator.

This talk will provide guidance on how to write custom allocators for the C++14/C++17 standard containers. It will cover the requirements specified by the standard, and will describe the facilities provided by the standard to support the new allocator model and allocator-aware containers. We'll look at the issues of allocator identity and propagation, and examine their implications for standard library users, standard library implementers, and custom allocator implementers. We'll see how a container uses its allocator, including when and how a container's allocator instance propagates. This will give us the necessary background to describe allocators that implement unusual semantics, such as a stateful allocator type whose instances compare non-equal. Finally, the talk will provide some guidelines for how to specify a custom allocator's public interface based on the semantics it provides.

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