[eigen] Pitfall in SelfAdjointEigenSolver API compared to EigenSolver API

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Dear Eigen-Community,


having recently updated to Eigen 3.0 (a really great piece of C++ engineering!), I stumbled over a pitfall related to the new API of the SelfAdjointEigenSolver (and GeneralizedSelfAdjointEigenSolver) class, which is slightly different than both, the 2.0.x API of SelfAdjointEigenSolver and EigenSolver:


In 3.0, the second parameter of compute-method of the SelfAdjointEigenSolvers is an int variable, in which a combination of flags can be stored. In contrast, the 2.0.x API of that class as well as the API of EigenSolver use a simple bool variable at that place, which is used to enable or disable calculation of Eigenvectors on top of the Eigenvalues. The problem is, that using a bool with the SelfAdjointEigenSolver in 3.0 does compile (casting the bool to 0 or 1, at least in Visual Studio 2008), but it doesn’t produce the correct result because “1” does not match the required enum value “ComputeEigenvectors”. The same will be true the other way round, casting the int to a bool in the EigenSolver case. Luckily, in debug mode passing a bool to SelfAdjointEigenSolver::compute is detected by an assert, pointing you to the source of the error. However, in release mode the assert is disabled and the eigenvectors are simply undefined, what may be hard to track down in complex applications. Since this is a problem that may hit both, users upgrading from pre 3.0 versions, and users switching from the general implementation to the SelfAdjoint one (or similar the other way round), I think it would be a good thing to somehow prevent these errors in the beginning. One possible solution might be to add a backward compatible overload of the compute-method (and the constructor, which can take the same parameter) to the SelfAdjointEigenSolver (and possibly an overload with int-flags in the EigenSolver), but perhaps there may be other ways e.g. for generating a compile-error when the wrong parameter type is used?


Kind regards,



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