Stack Overflow

What Does Stack Overflow Mean?

A stack overflow is a runtime error that happens when a program runs out of memory in the call stack. The stack overflow generally signals a problem in resource provisioning and has to be fixed in order to allow the program to run and use memory properly.


Techopedia Explains Stack Overflow

It is important to point out that a stack overflow is a logical runtime error and not a syntax error. Syntax errors result when the computer cannot read a section of code correctly, and these errors are caught by the compiler or at other key points before production. A stack overflow, on the other hand, happens “in the mix” and can be hard to figure out.

Stack overflows can be caused by not allocating enough memory to a particular program. They can also be caused by a codebase where the coder or developer did not remember memory limits and programmed the executable to exceed them. Many programmers consider recursive functions as a major culprit: With recursion, the iterative process eats up all of the available memory and then triggers a stack overflow.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…