Wrong numeric result from Math/abs on Java 8


This is with Java 1.8 (Oracle or Open JDK):

In Java 1.7, the expected results are returned instead (10000000000000).

Cause: It appears that Math.abs(int) is being invoked. Both the int and long versions are considered by the reflector but Java 1.7 and 1.8 return these signatures in different orders and the first one found is picked.

Workaround: Use hint or cast to inform the reflector which one to pick.


does not seem specific to Clojure version
occurs only in Java 1.8


Andy Fingerhut
December 4, 2018, 3:32 AM

Possibly the same as, or at least some commonality with, CLJ-1212.

Nicola Mometto
May 10, 2016, 2:05 PM

To clarify, that wasn't a list of different options, it was a list of steps to take.
i.e. if it's possible to pick the most specific type from a hierarchy, do that, ELSE if the types are primitive, pick the widest ELSE fail

Alex Miller
May 10, 2016, 2:03 PM

I think the subsumes check is effectively trying to do your option #1 already - this is a case where the types of the arguments in the two cases have no hierarchical relationship. Probably #2 would make more sense - expressing a preference, although there are certainly cases where "widest" has no meaning, so not sure what the general form of this is.

Nicola Mometto
May 10, 2016, 1:58 PM

It seems to me that the non-deterministic behaviour of clojure's reflector of randomly picking one overload when more than one is available is both highly counterintuitive and undesirable.

IMHO the only sane approach would be to:

  • pick the most specific type if possible (e.g. if what's available is [Object, CharSequence, String] and the reflected type is a StringBuffer, we use CharSequence rather than Object.

  • pick the widest primitive type if possible (e.g. in this case we'd use long rather than int)

  • Fail with a `More than one matching method found` exception if conflicts can't be resolved (this already happens in some cases)

(I'm still scarred from previous experiences of reading/patching the complex beast that is Reflector.java and the reflective bits of Compiler.java, so I propose this with no intention of ever working on this myself )

Alex Miller
May 9, 2016, 3:03 PM

In the first case, -10000000000000 is a long and the compiler unambiguously finds Math.abs(long).

In the second case, a is an Object and all abs signatures are considered (this is in Reflector.invokeMatchingMethod). In both Java 1.7 and 1.8, the long and int signatures are found "congruent".

In Java 1.7, the long version is found first and treated as a match, then int is checked and Compiler.subsumes([int], [long]) returns false, leading to the long method being kept as the match.

In Java 1.8, the int version is found first and treated as a match, then long is checked and Compiler.subsumes([long], [int]) returns false, leading to the int method being kept as the match.

Both of these return false on both JDKs:

so the real difference is just the ordering that is considered, which is JDK-specific.

The considered signatures could be sorted in some canonical way making this behavior consistent, or could maybe express a preference between the two signatures somehow.

In any case, getting rid of the reflection here by hinting or casting a resolves the problem - it should be considered only luck not intention that the correct results comes out with Java 7 in this case, I think.

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Alex Miller




Affects versions