We present a formal operational semantics and its Coq mechanization for the C++ object model, featuring object construction and destruction, shared and repeated multiple inheritance, and virtual function call dispatch. These are key C++ language features for high-level system programming, in particular for predictable and reliable resource management. This paper is the first to present a formal mechanized account of the metatheory of construction and destruction in C++, and applications to popular programming techniques such as “resource acquisition is initialization.” We also report on irregularities and apparent contradictions in the ISO C++03 and C++11 standards.
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