[Rd] segfault when trying to allocate a large vector

Pierrick Bruneau pbruneau at gmail.com
Thu Dec 18 09:00:26 CET 2014

Dear R contributors,

I'm running into trouble when trying to allocate some large (but in
theory viable) vector in the context of C code bound to R through
.Call(). Here is some sample code summarizing the problem:

SEXP test() {

int size = 10000000;
double largevec[size];
memset(largevec, 0, size*sizeof(double));


If size if small enough (up to 10^6), everything is fine. When it
reaches 10^7 as above, I get a segfault. As far as I know, a double
value is represented with 8 bytes, which would make largevec above
approx. 80Mo -> this is certainly large for a single variable, but
should remain well below the limits of my machine... Also, doing a
calloc for the same vector size leads to the same outcome.

In my package, I would use large vectors that cannot be assumed to be
sparse - so utilities for sparse matrices may not be considered.

I run R on ubuntu 64-bit, with 8G RAM, and a 64-bit R build (3.1.2).
As my problem looks close to that seen in
following what I have seen in ?"Memory-limits" I checked that ulimit
-v returns "unlimited".

I guess I must miss something, like contiguity issues, or other. Does
anyone have a clue for me?

Thanks by advance,

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