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13.11 Storage Management

[ Each access-to-object type has an associated storage pool. The storage allocated by an allocator comes from the pool; instances of Unchecked_Deallocation return storage to the pool. Several access types can share the same pool.]
{AI95-00435-01} [A storage pool is a variable of a type in the class rooted at Root_Storage_Pool, which is an abstract limited controlled type. By default, the implementation chooses a standard storage pool for each access-to-object type. The user may define new pool types, and may override the choice of pool for an access-to-object type by specifying Storage_Pool for the type.]
Ramification: By default, the implementation might choose to have a single global storage pool, which is used (by default) by all access types, which might mean that storage is reclaimed automatically only upon partition completion. Alternatively, it might choose to create a new pool at each accessibility level, which might mean that storage is reclaimed for an access type when leaving the appropriate scope. Other schemes are possible. 
Term entry: storage pool object — object associated with one or more access types from which the storage for objects created by allocators of the access type(s) is obtained
Note: Some storage pools can be partitioned into subpools in order to support finer-grained storage management.

Legality Rules

If Storage_Pool is specified for a given access type, Storage_Size shall not be specified for it. 
Reason: The Storage_Pool determines the Storage_Size; hence it would not make sense to specify both. Note that this rule is simplified by the fact that the aspects in question cannot be specified for derived types, nor for nonfirst subtypes, so we don't have to worry about whether, say, Storage_Pool on a derived type overrides Storage_Size on the parent type. For the same reason, “specified” means the same thing as “directly specified” here. 

Static Semantics

The following language-defined library package exists: 
{AI12-0235-1} with Ada.Finalization;
with System.Storage_Elements;
package System.Storage_Pools 
    with Pure, Nonblocking => False is
    pragma Preelaborate(System.Storage_Pools);
{AI95-00161-01} {AI12-0399-1}     type Root_Storage_Pool is
        abstract new Ada.Finalization.Limited_Controlled with private;
        with pragma Preelaborable_Initialization(Root_Storage_Pool);
    procedure Allocate(
      Pool : in out Root_Storage_Pool;
      Storage_Address : out Address;
      Size_In_Storage_Elements : in Storage_Elements.Storage_Count;
      Alignment : in Storage_Elements.Storage_Count) is abstract;
    procedure Deallocate(
      Pool : in out Root_Storage_Pool;
      Storage_Address : in Address;
      Size_In_Storage_Elements : in Storage_Elements.Storage_Count;
      Alignment : in Storage_Elements.Storage_Count) is abstract;
    function Storage_Size(Pool : Root_Storage_Pool)
        return Storage_Elements.Storage_Count is abstract;
   ... -- not specified by the language
end System.Storage_Pools;
Reason: The Alignment parameter is provided to Deallocate because some allocation strategies require it. If it is not needed, it can be ignored. 
A storage pool type (or pool type) is a descendant of Root_Storage_Pool. The elements of a storage pool are the objects allocated in the pool by allocators.
Discussion: In most cases, an element corresponds to a single memory block allocated by Allocate. However, in some cases the implementation may choose to associate more than one memory block with a given pool element. 
{8652/0009} {AI95-00137-01} {AI95-00435-01} For every access-to-object subtype S, the following representation attributes are defined: 

Denotes the storage pool of the type of S. The type of this attribute is Root_Storage_Pool'Class.

Yields the result of calling Storage_Size(S'Storage_Pool)[, which is intended to be a measure of the number of storage elements reserved for the pool.] The type of this attribute is universal_integer
Ramification: Storage_Size is also defined for task subtypes and objects — see 13.3.
Storage_Size is not a measure of how much un-allocated space is left in the pool. That is, it includes both allocated and unallocated space. Implementations and users may provide a Storage_Available function for their pools, if so desired. 
{AI12-0319-1} Storage_Size or Storage_Pool may be specified for a nonderived access-to-object type via an attribute_definition_clause; the name in a Storage_Pool clause shall denote a variable. If the nominal subtype of the name specified for Storage_Pool is nonblocking (see 9.5), then the primitive Allocate, Deallocate, and Storage_Size subprograms of that type shall be nonblocking. Additionally, if the pool is one that supports subpools (see 13.11.4), the primitive Default_Subpool_for_Pool, Allocate_From_Subpool, and Deallocate_Subpool subprograms shall be nonblocking.
Aspect Description for Storage_Pool: Pool of memory from which new will allocate for a given access type.
Aspect Description for Storage_Size (access): Sets memory size for allocations for an access type.
Reason: {AI12-0319-1}  We need to be able to describe in contracts (especially for generic units) whether the operations of a storage pool allow blocking, and we do that with the nonblocking status of the type. We make the check when the pool is specified so we can avoid adding a special check to the declaration of a pool type – we want pool types to follow the same rules as any other type. 
{AI05-0107-1} {AI05-0111-3} {AI05-0116-1} An allocator of a type T that does not support subpools allocates storage from T's storage pool. If the storage pool is a user-defined object, then the storage is allocated by calling Allocate as described below. Allocators for types that support subpools are described in 13.11.4.
Ramification: If the implementation chooses to represent the designated subtype in multiple pieces, one allocator evaluation might result in more than one call upon Allocate. In any case, allocators for the access type obtain all the required storage for an object of the designated type by calling the specified Allocate procedure.
This paragraph was deleted.{AI05-0107-1}
{8652/0111} {AI95-00103-01} If D (the designated type of T) includes subcomponents of other access types, they will be allocated from the storage pools for those types, even if those allocators are executed as part of the allocator of T (as part of the initialization of the object). For instance, an access-to-task type TT may allocate the data structures used to implement the task value from other storage pools. (In particular, the task stack does not necessarily need to be allocated from the storage pool for TT.) 
If Storage_Pool is not specified for a type defined by an access_to_object_definition, then the implementation chooses a standard storage pool for it in an implementation-defined manner. In this case, the exception Storage_Error is raised by an allocator if there is not enough storage. It is implementation defined whether or not the implementation provides user-accessible names for the standard pool type(s). 
This paragraph was deleted.
Discussion: The manner of choosing a storage pool is covered by a Documentation Requirement below, so it is not summarized here. 
Implementation defined: Whether or not the implementation provides user-accessible names for the standard pool type(s).
To be honest: {AI12-0005-1} pragma Default_Storage_Pool (see 13.11.3) can be used to specify a specific pool (or none at all) to be used with access types declared in a particular declaration list, rather than a standard storage pool.
{AI12-0005-1} Although there is no language-defined user-accessible name for the standard pool type(s), the default use of a standard pool may be indicated using the identifier Standard in the pragma Default_Storage_Pool.
Ramification: {AI95-00230-01} An access-to-object type defined by a derived_type_definition inherits its pool from its parent type, so all access-to-object types in the same derivation class share the same pool. Hence the “defined by an access_to_object_definition” wording above.
There is no requirement that all storage pools be implemented using a contiguous block of memory (although each allocation returns a pointer to a contiguous block of memory). 
  {AI12-0319-1} {AI12-0424-1} The type(s) of the standard pool(s), and the primitive Allocate, Deallocate, and Storage_Size subprograms for the standard pool(s) are nonblocking. Concurrent invocations of these subprograms do not conflict with one another (see 9.10) when applied to standard storage pools.
Reason: We need to specify that the type is nonblocking so that an instance of Unchecked_Deallocation is nonblocking if the object type is nonblocking (as the type is used in the contract). Ada 95 did not declare standard allocation/deallocation as potentially blocking, so these things can be used in protected types, and we want that to remain true (with static checking). 
{AI12-0043-1} {AI12-0319-1} If Storage_Size is specified for an access type T, an implementation-defined pool P is used for the type. The, then the Storage_Size of P this pool is at least that requested, and the storage for P the pool is reclaimed when the master containing the declaration of the access type is left. If the implementation cannot satisfy the request, Storage_Error is raised at the freezing point of type T. The storage pool P is used only for allocators returning type T or other access types specified to use T'Storage_Pool. Storage_Error is raised by an allocator returning such a type if the storage space of P is exhausted (additional memory is not allocated). the attribute_definition_clause. If neither Storage_Pool nor Storage_Size are specified, then the meaning of Storage_Size is implementation defined. The type of P, and the primitive Allocate, Deallocate, and Storage_Size subprograms of P are nonblocking.
  {AI12-0043-1} If neither Storage_Pool nor Storage_Size are specified, then the meaning of Storage_Size is implementation defined.
Implementation defined: The meaning of Storage_Size when neither the Storage_Size nor the Storage_Pool is specified for an access type.
Ramification: The Storage_Size function and attribute will return the actual size, rather than the requested size. Comments about rounding up, zero, and negative on task Storage_Size apply here, as well. See also AI83-00557, AI83-00558, and AI83-00608.
The expression in a Storage_Size clause need not be static.
The reclamation happens after the master is finalized. 
Implementation Note: For a pool allocated on the stack, normal stack cut-back can accomplish the reclamation. For a library-level pool, normal partition termination actions can accomplish the reclamation. 
If Storage_Pool is specified for an access type, then the specified pool is used.
The effect of calling Allocate and Deallocate for a standard storage pool directly (rather than implicitly via an allocator or an instance of Unchecked_Deallocation) is unspecified. 
Ramification: For example, an allocator might put the pool element on a finalization list. If the user directly Deallocates it, instead of calling an instance of Unchecked_Deallocation, then the implementation would probably try to finalize the object upon master completion, which would be bad news. Therefore, the implementation should define such situations as erroneous. 

Erroneous Execution

If Storage_Pool is specified for an access type, then if Allocate can satisfy the request, it should allocate a contiguous block of memory, and return the address of the first storage element in Storage_Address. The block should contain Size_In_Storage_Elements storage elements, and should be aligned according to Alignment. The allocated storage should not be used for any other purpose while the pool element remains in existence. If the request cannot be satisfied, then Allocate should propagate an exception [(such as Storage_Error)]. If Allocate behaves in any other manner, then the program execution is erroneous.

Implementation Requirements

  {AI05-0107-1} {AI05-0262-1} The Allocate procedure of a user-defined storage pool object P may be called by the implementation only to allocate storage for a type T whose pool is P, only at the following points:
During the execution of an allocator of type T;
Ramification: This includes during the evaluation of the initializing expression such as an aggregate; this is important if the initializing expression is built in place. We need to allow allocation to be deferred until the size of the object is known. 
During the execution of a return statement for a function whose result is built-in-place in the result of an allocator of type T;
Reason: We need this bullet as well as the preceding one in order that exceptions that propagate from such a call to Allocate can be handled within the return statement. We don't want to require the generation of special handling code in this unusual case, as it would add overhead to most return statements of composite types. 
During the execution of an assignment operation with a target of an allocated object of type T with a part that has an unconstrained discriminated subtype with defaults.
Reason: We allow Allocate to be called during assignment of objects with mutable parts so that mutable objects can be implemented with reallocation on assignment. (Unfortunately, the term "mutable" is only defined in the AARM, so we have to use the long-winded wording shown here.) 
Discussion: Of course, explicit calls to Allocate are also allowed and are not bound by any of the rules found here. 
  {AI05-0107-1} {AI05-0116-1} {AI05-0193-1} {AI05-0262-1} {AI05-0269-1} For each of the calls of Allocate described above, P (equivalent to T'Storage_Pool) is passed as the Pool parameter. The Size_In_Storage_Elements parameter indicates the number of storage elements to be allocated, and is no more than D'Max_Size_In_Storage_Elements, where D is the designated subtype of T. The Alignment parameter is a nonzero integral multiple of D'Alignment if D is a specific type, and otherwise is a nonzero integral multiple of the alignment of the specific type identified by the tag of the object being created; it is unspecified if there is no such value. The Alignment parameter is no more than D'Max_Alignment_For_Allocation. The result returned in the Storage_Address parameter is used as the address of the allocated storage, which is a contiguous block of memory of Size_In_Storage_Elements storage elements. [Any exception propagated by Allocate is propagated by the construct that contained the call.]
Ramification: Note that the implementation does not turn other exceptions into Storage_Error.
“Nonzero integral multiple” of an alignment includes the alignment value itself, of course. The value is unspecified if the alignment of the specific type is zero. 
  {AI05-0107-1} {AI12-0445-1} The number of calls to Allocate that will be used needed to implement an allocator for any particular type is unspecified. The number of calls to Deallocate that will be used needed to implement an instance of Unchecked_Deallocation (see 13.11.2) for any particular object is the same as the number of Allocate calls for that object.
Reason: This supports objects that are allocated in one or more parts. The second sentence prevents extra or missing calls to Deallocate. 
To be honest: {AI05-0005-1} The number of calls to Deallocate from all sources for an object always will be the same as the number of calls to Allocate from all sources for that object. However, in unusual cases, not all of those Deallocate calls may be made by an instance of Unchecked_Deallocation. Specifically, in the unusual case of assigning to an object of a mutable variant record type such that the variant changes, some of the Deallocate calls may be made by the assignment (as may some of the Allocate calls). 
Ramification: We do not define the relative order of multiple calls used to deallocate the same object — that is, if the allocator allocated two pieces x and y, then an instance of Unchecked_Deallocation might deallocate x and then y, or it might deallocate y and then x
  {AI05-0107-1} The Deallocate procedure of a user-defined storage pool object P may be called by the implementation to deallocate storage for a type T whose pool is P only at the places when an Allocate call is allowed for P, during the execution of an instance of Unchecked_Deallocation for T, or as part of the finalization of the collection of T. For such a call of Deallocate, P (equivalent to T'Storage_Pool) is passed as the Pool parameter. The value of the Storage_Address parameter for a call to Deallocate is the value returned in the Storage_Address parameter of the corresponding successful call to Allocate. The values of the Size_In_Storage_Elements and Alignment parameters are the same values passed to the corresponding Allocate call. Any exception propagated by Deallocate is propagated by the construct that contained the call.
Reason: We allow Deallocate to be called anywhere that Allocate is, in order to allow the recovery of storage from failed allocations (that is, those that raise exceptions); from extended return statements that exit via a goto, exit, or locally handled exception; and from objects that are reallocated when they are assigned. In each of these cases, we would have a storage leak if the implementation did not recover the storage (there is no way for the programmer to do it). We do not require such recovery, however, as it could be a serious performance drag on these operations. 

Documentation Requirements

{AI12-0445-1} An implementation shall document the set of values that a user-defined Allocate procedure has needs to accept for the Alignment parameter. An implementation shall document how the standard storage pool is chosen, and how storage is allocated by standard storage pools. 
This paragraph was deleted.
Documentation Requirement: The set of values that a user-defined Allocate procedure needs to accept for the Alignment parameter. How the standard storage pool is chosen, and how storage is allocated by standard storage pools.

Implementation Advice

An implementation should document any cases in which it dynamically allocates heap storage for a purpose other than the evaluation of an allocator.
Implementation Advice: Any cases in which heap storage is dynamically allocated other than as part of the evaluation of an allocator should be documented.
Reason: This is “Implementation Advice” because the term “heap storage” is not formally definable; therefore, it is not testable whether the implementation obeys this advice. 
A default (implementation-provided) storage pool for an access-to-constant type should not have overhead to support deallocation of individual objects. 
Implementation Advice: A default storage pool for an access-to-constant type should not have overhead to support deallocation of individual objects.
Ramification: Unchecked_Deallocation is not defined for such types. If the access-to-constant type is library-level, then no deallocation (other than at partition completion) will ever be necessary, so if the size needed by an allocator of the type is known at link-time, then the allocation should be performed statically. If, in addition, the initial value of the designated object is known at compile time, the object can be allocated to read-only memory.
Implementation Note: If the Storage_Size for an access type is specified, the storage pool should consist of a contiguous block of memory, possibly allocated on the stack. The pool should contain approximately this number of storage elements. These storage elements should be reserved at the place of the Storage_Size clause, so that allocators cannot raise Storage_Error due to running out of pool space until the appropriate number of storage elements has been used up. This approximate (possibly rounded-up) value should be used as a maximum; the implementation should not increase the size of the pool on the fly. If the Storage_Size for an access type is specified as zero, then the pool should not take up any storage space, and any allocator for the type should raise Storage_Error. 
Ramification: Note that most of this is approximate, and so cannot be (portably) tested. That's why we make it an Implementation Note. There is no particular number of allocations that is guaranteed to succeed, and there is no particular number of allocations that is guaranteed to fail. 
{AI95-00230-01} The storage pool used for an allocator of an anonymous access type should be determined as follows:
{AI95-00230-01} {AI95-00416-01} If the allocator is defining a coextension (see 3.10.2) of an object being created by an outer allocator, then the storage pool used for the outer allocator should also be used for the coextension;
{AI95-00230-01} For other access discriminants and access parameters, the storage pool should be created at the point of the allocator, and be reclaimed when the allocated object becomes inaccessible;
{AI05-0051-1} If the allocator defines the result of a function with an access result, the storage pool is determined as though the allocator were in place of the call of the function. If the call is the operand of a type conversion, the storage pool is that of the target access type of the conversion. If the call is itself defining the result of a function with an access result, this rule is applied recursively;
{AI95-00230-01} {AI12-0444-1} Otherwise, a default storage pool should be created at the point where the anonymous access type is elaborated; such a storage pool may have no mechanism for the need not support deallocation of individual objects. 
Implementation Advice: Usually, a storage pool for an access discriminant or access parameter should be created at the point of an allocator, and be reclaimed when the designated object becomes inaccessible. For other anonymous access types, the pool should be created at the point where the type is elaborated and may have no mechanism for the need not support deallocation of individual objects.
Implementation Note: {AI95-00230-01} For access parameters and access discriminants, the "storage pool" for an anonymous access type would not normally exist as a separate entity. Instead, the designated object of the allocator would be allocated, in the case of an access parameter, as a local aliased variable at the call site, and in the case of an access discriminant, contiguous with the object containing the discriminant. This is similar to the way storage for aggregates is typically managed.
{AI95-00230-01} For other sorts of anonymous access types, this implementation is not possible in general, as the accessibility of the anonymous access type is that of its declaration, while the allocator could be more nested. In this case, a "real" storage pool is required. Note, however, that this storage pool need not support (separate) deallocation, as it is not possible to instantiate Unchecked_Deallocation with an anonymous access type. (If deallocation is needed, the object should be allocated for a named access type and converted.) Thus, deallocation only need happen when the anonymous access type itself goes out of scope; this is similar to the case of an access-to-constant type. 
NOTE 1   {AI12-0442-1} A user-defined storage pool type can be obtained by extending the Root_Storage_Pool type, and overriding the primitive subprograms Allocate, Deallocate, and Storage_Size. A user-defined storage pool can then be obtained by declaring an object of the type extension. The user can override Initialize and Finalize if there is any desire need for nontrivial initialization and finalization for a user-defined pool type. For example, Finalize can might reclaim blocks of storage that are allocated separately from the pool object itself.
NOTE 2   The writer of the user-defined allocation and deallocation procedures, and users of allocators for the associated access type, are responsible for dealing with any interactions with tasking. In particular: 
If the allocators are used in different tasks, they require mutual exclusion.
If they are used inside protected objects, they cannot block.
If they are used by interrupt handlers (see C.3, “Interrupt Support”), the mutual exclusion mechanism has to work properly in that context. 
NOTE 3   The primitives Allocate, Deallocate, and Storage_Size are declared as abstract (see 3.9.3), and therefore they have to be overridden when a new (nonabstract) storage pool type is declared. 
Ramification: Note that the Storage_Pool attribute denotes an object, rather than a value, which is somewhat unusual for attributes.
The calls to Allocate, Deallocate, and Storage_Size are dispatching calls — this follows from the fact that the actual parameter for Pool is T'Storage_Pool, which is of type Root_Storage_Pool'Class. In many cases (including all cases in which Storage_Pool is not specified), the compiler can determine the tag statically. However, it is possible to construct cases where it cannot.
All access types in the same derivation class share the same pool, whether implementation defined or user defined. This is necessary because we allow type conversions among them (even if they are pool-specific), and we want pool-specific access values to always designate an element of the right pool. 
Implementation Note: If an access type has a standard storage pool, then the implementation doesn't actually have to follow the pool interface described here, since this would be semantically invisible. For example, the allocator could conceivably be implemented with inline code. 


To associate an access type with a storage pool object, the user first declares a pool object of some type derived from Root_Storage_Pool. Then, the user defines its Storage_Pool attribute, as follows:
Pool_Object : Some_Storage_Pool_Type;
type T is access Designated;
for T'Storage_Pool use Pool_Object;
{AI12-0440-1} Another access type can may be added to an existing storage pool, via: 
for T2'Storage_Pool use T'Storage_Pool;
The semantics of this is implementation defined for a standard storage pool. 
Reason: For example, the implementation is allowed to choose a storage pool for T that takes advantage of the fact that T is of a certain size. If T2 is not of that size, then the above will probably not work. 
{AI05-0111-3} {AI12-0440-1} As usual, a derivative of Root_Storage_Pool can may define additional operations. For example, consider the Mark_Release_Pool_Type defined in 13.11.6, that has two additional operations, Mark and Release, the following is a possible use: 
{8652/0041} {AI95-00066-01} {AI05-0111-3} type Mark_Release_Pool_Type
   (Pool_Size : Storage_Elements.Storage_Count)
        is new Subpools.Root_Storage_Pool_With_Subpools with private;
           -- As defined in package MR_Pool, see 13.11.6
{AI05-0111-3} {AI12-0178-1} Our_Pool : Mark_Release_Pool_Type (Pool_Size => 2000);
My_Mark : Subpool_Handle MR_Pool.Subpool_Handle; -- As declared in See 13.11.6
{AI05-0111-3} type Acc is access ...;
for Acc'Storage_Pool use Our_Pool;
{AI05-0111-3} My_Mark := Mark(Our_Pool);
... -- Allocate objects using “new (My_Mark) Designated(...)”.
Release(My_Mark); -- Finalize objects and reclaim storage.

Extensions to Ada 83

User-defined storage pools are new to Ada 95. 

Wording Changes from Ada 83

{AI05-0005-1} {AI05-0190-1} Ada 83 originally introduced the concept called a “collection”, which is similar to what we call a storage pool. All access types in the same derivation class share the same collection. Ada 95 introduces the storage pool, which is similar in that all access types in the same derivation class share the same storage pool, but other (unrelated) access types can also share the same storage pool, either by default, or as specified by the user. A collection is an amorphous grouping of objects (mainly used to describe finalization of access types); a storage pool is a more concrete concept — hence the different name.
RM83 states the erroneousness of reading or updating deallocated objects incorrectly by missing various cases. 

Incompatibilities With Ada 95

{AI95-00435-01} Amendment Correction: Storage pools (and Storage_Size) are not defined for access-to-subprogram types. The original Ada 95 wording defined the attributes, but said nothing about their values. If a program uses attributes Storage_Pool or Storage_Size on an access-to-subprogram type, it will need to be corrected for Ada 2005. That's a good thing, as such a use is a bug — the concepts never were defined for such types. 

Extensions to Ada 95

{AI95-00161-01} Amendment Correction: Added pragma Preelaborable_Initialization to type Root_Storage_Pool, so that extensions of it can be used to declare default-initialized objects in preelaborated units. 

Wording Changes from Ada 95

{8652/0009} {AI95-00137-01} Corrigendum: Added wording to specify that these are representation attributes.
{AI95-00230-01} {AI95-00416-01} Added wording to clarify that an allocator for a coextension nested inside an outer allocator shares the pool with the outer allocator.

Wording Changes from Ada 2005

{AI05-0051-1} Correction: Added the missing definition of the storage pool of an allocator for an anonymous access result type.
{AI05-0107-1} Correction: Clarified when an implementation is allowed to call Allocate and Deallocate, and the requirements on such calls.
{AI05-0111-3} Added wording to support subpools and refer to the subpool example, see 13.11.4.
{AI05-0116-1} Correction: Added wording to specify that the alignment for an allocator with a class-wide designated type comes from the specific type that is allocated.
{AI05-0193-1} Added wording to allow larger alignments for calls to Allocate made by allocators, up to Max_Alignment_For_Allocation. This eases implementation in some cases. 

Extensions to Ada 2012

{AI12-0235-1} Package System.Storage_Pools now has Pure categorization, so it can be mentioned for any package. Note that this does not allow storage pool objects to be shared between partitions, as these necessarily must be variables; however, this does allow a storage pool type to be shared. 

Wording Changes from Ada 2012

{AI12-0043-1} Corrigendum: Tightened up the description of the implementation-defined pool used when Storage_Size is specified. This is not intended to change any implementation.
{AI12-0319-1} {AI12-0424-1} Specified that the standard pool(s), and the pool(s) used to implement a specified Storage_Size, are nonblocking and support concurrent use. This was always true (which is why this is not documented as an incompatibility), but it never was explicitly stated before. In the past, the absence of wording defining something to be potentially blocking determined if blocking was not allowed. Similarly, the absence of a statement that allocation was not allowed in multiple tasks implied that it was allowed. 

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