Video details

Back to Basics: Pointers - Mike Shah - CppCon 2021

English --- Pointers are scary. Unfortunately that previous statement is what many beginners take away when first learning about pointers and the C++ language. In this talk, we will discuss the low level foundations of what a raw pointer is--a variable that stores an address. We will then see some examples of raw pointers for creating data structures, passing data into functions, dynamically allocated arrays, and function pointers. This portion will cover capabilities of raw pointers and syntax: * (asterisk), .(dot) , -> (arrow). By the end of the first portion of the talk, we will find pointers are not scary, but just another tool we can use in our programmers’ toolbox.
After learning the foundations, we are then going to discuss some of the pitfalls of pointers (e.g. nullptr’s, double frees, memory leaks). However, with modern C++, we can abstract away some of these problems using various “smart pointers” built into the standard library in <memory>. Attendees will leave understanding how we can use pointers in a safe manner through the standard library smart pointer abstractions.
--- Mike Shah
Michael D. Shah completed his Ph.D. at Tufts University in the Redline Research Group in 2017. His Ph.D. thesis advisor was Samuel Z. Guyer. Michael finished his Masters degree in Computer Science in 2013 at Tufts University and Bachelors in Computers Science Engineering at The Ohio State University in 2011. Currently Michael is a lecturer at Northeastern University.
Michael discovered computer science at the age of 13 when googling ”how do I make games”. From that google search, Mike has worked as a freelance game developer, worked in industry for Intel, Sony Playstation, Oblong Industries, and researched at The Ohio Supercomputer Center to name a few. Mike cares about building tools to help programmers monitor and improve the performance of realtime applications– especially games.
In Michael’s spare time he is a long distance runner, weight lifter, and amateur pizza maker.
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