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Computing (FOLDOC) dictionary
Duff's device
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The most dramatic use yet seen of fall through in C,
invented by Tom Duff when he was at Lucasfilm. Trying to
bum all the instructions he could out of an inner loop that
copied data serially onto an output port, he decided to unroll
it. He then realised that the unrolled version could be
implemented by *interlacing* the structures of a switch and a
register n = (count + 7) / 8; /* count @# 0 assumed */
switch (count % 8)
Shocking though it appears to all who encounter it for the
first time, the device is actually perfectly valid, legal C.
C's default fall through in case statements has long been
its most controversial single feature; Duff observed that
"This code forms some sort of argument in that debate, but I'm
not sure whether it's for or against."