Exception handling in Julia

Any unexpected condition that occurs during the normal program execution is called an Exception. Exception Handling in Julia is the mechanism to overcome this situation by chalking out an alternative path to continue normal program execution. If exceptions are left unhandled, the program terminates abruptly. The actions to be performed in case of occurrence of an exception is not known to the program. The process of avoiding the compiler to crash on such exceptions is termed as Exception Handling.

Exception Handling

Julia allows exception handling through the use of a try-catch block. The block of code that can possibly throw an exception is placed in the try block and the catch block handles the exception thrown. The exception propagates through the call stack until a try-catch block is found. Let us consider the following code, Here we try to find the square root of -1 which throws “DomainError” and the program terminates.

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println(sqrt(-1))

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Output:

ERROR: LoadError: DomainError:
sqrt will only return a complex result if called with a complex argument. Try sqrt(complex(x)).
Stacktrace:
 [1] sqrt(::Int64) at ./math.jl:434
while loading /home/cg/root/945981/main.jl, in expression starting on line 1

In absence of a try-catch block the program terminates abruptly. However, we can prevent the termination of program by handling the exception gracefully using a try-catch block.

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println("Before Exception")
try
    sqrt(-1)
catch
    println("Cannot find the square root of negative numbers")
end
println("After Exception")

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Output:



Before Exception
Cannot find the square root of negative numbers
After Exception

The try-catch block also allows the exception to be stored in a variable. The method of using the catch block to handle multiple types of Exception is called Canonical method. The following example calculates the square root of the third element of x if x is indexable, otherwise assumes x is a real number and returns its square root.

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sqrt_third(x) = try
        println(sqrt(x[3]))
    catch y
        if isa(y, DomainError)
            println(sqrt(complex(x[3], 0)))
        elseif isa(y, BoundsError)
            println(sqrt(x))
        end
    end
  
  
sqrt_third([1 9 16 25])
sqrt_third([1 -4 9 16])
sqrt_third(25)
sqrt_third(-9)

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Output:

4.0
3.0
5.0
ERROR: LoadError: DomainError:
Stacktrace:
 [1] sqrt_third(::Int64) at /home/cg/root/945981/main.jl:7
while loading /home/cg/root/945981/main.jl, in expression starting on line 15

Use of Finally clause

The finally block runs irrespective of the occurrence of an exception. Code inside the finally block can be used to close resources like opened files or other cleanup work.

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try
    f = open("file.txt")
catch
    println("No such file exists")
finally
    println("After exception")
end

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Output:

No such file exists
After exception

Throwing An Exception

The throw() function can be used to throw custom exceptions. The following examples shows an error being thrown from a function and handled by the catch block. The error() function is used to produce an ErrorException.

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function f(x)
    if(x < 5)
        throw(error())
    end
    return sqrt(x)
end
  
try
    println(f(9))
    println(f(1))
catch e
    println("Argument less than 5")
end

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Output:

3.0
Argument less than 5

Exceptions can also be thrown from the catch block. The catch block may include some code to handle the caught exception and then rethrow an exception. This exception must be handled by another try-catch block in the same method or any other method in the call stack. The exception propagates all throughout to the main function if it is left uncaught.

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function f(x)
    if(x < 5)
        throw(error())
    end
    return sqrt(x)
end
  
try
    println(f(9))
    println(f(1))
catch e
    println("Argument less than 5")
    throw(error())
end

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Output:

3.0
Argument less than 5
ERROR: LoadError: 
Stacktrace:
 [1] error() at ./error.jl:30
while loading /home/cg/root/945981/main.jl, in expression starting on line 13

Throwing error from catch block

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function f(x)
    if(x < 5)
        throw(error())
    end
    return sqrt(x)
end
  
try
    try
        println(f(9))
        println(f(1))
    catch e
        println("Argument less than 5")
        throw(error())
    end
catch e
    println("Second catch block")
end

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Output:

3.0
Argument less than 5
Second catch block

One line try-catch

try sqrt(x) catch y end

This means try sqrt(x), and if an exception is thrown, pass it to the variable y.
Now if the value stored in y must be returned then the catch must be followed by a semicolon.

try sqrt(x) catch; y end
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try println(sqrt(-9)) catch; y end

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Output:

ERROR: LoadError: UndefVarError: y not defined
while loading /home/cg/root/945981/main.jl, in expression starting on line 1

Built-in Exceptions

Julia provides some built-in Exceptions, which are as follows:

Exception Description
ArgumentError This exception is thrown when the parameters to a function call do not match a valid signature.
BoundsError This exception is thrown if there the user tries to access anarray index beyond the index range.
CompositeException This exception provides information about each subtask that throws exception within a task.
DimensionMismatch This exception is thrown when objects called do not have matching dimensionality.
DivideError This exception is thrown when the user tries to divide by 0(zero).
DomainError This exception is thrown when the argument to a function or constructor does not lie in the valid domain.
EOFError This exception is thrown when there is no more data left to read in a file.
ErrorException This exception is thrown to indicate generic error.
InexactError This exception is thrown when the program cannot exactly convert a particular value to type T in a method.
InitError This exception is thrown when an error occurs while running __init__ function of a module.
InterruptException This exception is thrown when a process is stopped from the terminal using CTRL+C .
InvalidStateException This exception is thrown when the program runs into an invalid state.
KeyError This exception is thrown when when a user tries to access or delete a non-existing element from AbstractDict or Set.
LoadError This exception is thrown if an error occurs while importing or using a file.
OutOfMemoryError This exception is thrown when a program exceeds the available system memory.
ReadOnlyMemoryError This exception is thrown when a program tries to write a memory that is read-only.
RemoteException This exception is thrown when exception of a remote computer is thrown locally. The exception specifies the pid of the worker and the corresponding exception.
MethodError This exception is thrown when a method with the required type signature does not exist.
OverflowError This exception is thrown when result of an expression is too large for the specified type and causes a wrap-around.
Meta.ParseError This exception is thrown when an expression passed to the parse function cannot be interpreted as a valid Julia expression.
SystemError This exception is thrown when a system call fails.
TypeError This exception is thrown when a type assertion fails, or an intrinsic function is called with incorrect argument type.
UndefRefError This exception is thrown if an item or field is not defined for the specified object.
UndefVarError This exception is thrown when a symbol is not defined in the current scope.
StringIndexError This exception is thrown when the user tries to access a string index that exceeds the string length.



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