background June 21, 2008

A Strangely Familiar Error

Geoff Dalgas, the newest member of the Stack Overflow team, shared this strangely familiar error message he ran into while working on another project recently. Ah yes, the elusive stack overflow: In software, a stack overflow occurs when too much memory is used on the call stack. In many programming languages the call stack contains…
Avatar for Jeff Atwood
Co-Founder (Former)

Geoff Dalgas, the newest member of the Stack Overflow team, shared this strangely familiar error message he ran into while working on another project recently.

stack overflow error

Ah yes, the elusive stack overflow:

In software, a stack overflow occurs when too much memory is used on the call stack. In many programming languages the call stack contains a limited amount of memory, usually determined at the start of the program. The size of the call stack depends on many factors, including the programming language, machine architecture, multi-threading, and amount of available memory. When too much memory is used on the call stack the stack is said to overflow; typically resulting in a program crash. This class of software bug is usually caused by one of two types of programming errors: infinite recursion, or very large stack variables.

You know what’d be really ironic, though? A stack overflow on Stack Overflow. Maybe that should be our 404 page.

Podcast logo The Stack Overflow Podcast is a weekly conversation about working in software development, learning to code, and the art and culture of computer programming.

Related

code-for-a-living January 20, 2020

What is Rust and why is it so popular?

Rust has been Stack Overflow's most loved language for four years in a row, indicating that many of those who have had the opportunity to use Rust have fallen in love with it. However, the roughly 97% of survey respondents who haven't used Rust may wonder, "What's the deal with Rust?"