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How to access raw data via the mex c++ api?

31 Ansichten (letzte 30 Tage)
Manuel Schaich
Manuel Schaich am 22 Dez. 2018
Kommentiert: Simon Müller am 2 Jun. 2021
I want to use the mex c++ api to interface existing external code. The API of the external application is fairly low level, but I cannot work out how I can access the double pointers I'd like to pass. As this is not specific to the code I have, assume I have a function
void foo(int n, const double *a, const double *b, double *c)
to which I pass the arrays a and b and their lengths n and it calculates something and puts it onto the array c.
In order to use the mex function with the c++ api I don't know how I can avoid copying the data into some dummy pod arrays along the lines of:
#include "mex.hpp"
#include "mexAdapter.hpp"
using namespace matlab::data;
using matlab::mex::ArgumentList;
class MexFunction : public matlab::mex::Function
ArrayFactory factory;
std::shared_ptr<matlab::engine::MATLABEngine> matlabPtr;
void validateArguments(ArgumentList outputs, ArgumentList inputs)
if (inputs.size() != 2)
matlabPtr->feval(u"error", 0, std::vector<Array>({ factory.createScalar("Require 2 inputs")}));
if (inputs[0].getType() != ArrayType::DOUBLE || inputs[0].getType() == ArrayType::COMPLEX_DOUBLE )
matlabPtr->feval(u"error", 0, std::vector<Array>({ factory.createScalar("First input has to be a double array") } ));
if (inputs[1].getType() != ArrayType::DOUBLE || inputs[1].getType() == ArrayType::COMPLEX_DOUBLE )
matlabPtr->feval(u"error", 0, std::vector<Array>( {factory.createScalar("second input has to be a double array")}));
if (outputs.size() > 1)
matlabPtr->feval(u"error", 0, std::vector<Array>( {factory.createScalar("One output only")}));
void foo(int n, const double *a, const double *b, double *c){
int i;
for (i=0;i<n;i++)
c[i] = a[i] + b[i];
MexFunction() : matlabPtr(getEngine()) {}
~MexFunction() {}
void operator() (ArgumentList outputs, ArgumentList inputs)
double *retVal, *a, *b;
int i, n = inputs[0].getNumberOfElements();
retVal = new double[n];
a = new double[n];
b = new double[n];
for (i =0; i<n;i++){
a[i] = inputs[0][i];
b[i] = inputs[1][i];
foo(n, a, b, retVal);
ArrayDimensions dims = inputs[0].getDimensions();
outputs[0] = factory.createArray(dims, retVal, retVal+n);
delete a;
delete b;
delete retVal;
This copying and creating of placeholders seems unelegant and wasteful. What am I missing? Please help!
Thank you!

Akzeptierte Antwort

Mihir Thakkar
Mihir Thakkar am 3 Jan. 2019
There is a "release" member function that returns a unique pointer of the raw data: TypedArray Documentation.
Instead of copying data from the typed array, the following should just work:
double* a=inputs[0].release().get();
  2 Kommentare
Dominic Liao-McPherson
Dominic Liao-McPherson am 8 Nov. 2019
The release documentation says that
"Release the underlying buffer from the Array. If the Array is shared, a copy of the buffer is made; otherwise, no copy is made. After the buffer is released, the array contains no elements."
What does this imply when using .release().get()? Won't the unique_ptr returned by release() immediately go out of scope (since its not being assigned to anything) and thus the memory pointed to by
```double* a = inputs[0].release().get();```
will become invalid? Or is my understanding of unique_ptr flawed?
Of course just assigning
std::unique_ptr<double> temp = inputs[0].release();
double* a = temp.get();
Would resolve the issue.
Torsten Knüppel
Torsten Knüppel am 4 Apr. 2020
Mihir could you please elaborate your answer?
It would be really great if it was so simple to access the raw data, but I do share Dominic's concerns. Furthermore, I don't manage to get your code working, because matlab::data::Array has no release-function. Following the answers below, it should be something along the line
double* b = matlab::data::TypedArray<double>(inputs[0]).release().get()
Furthermore, I don't fully understand the documentation - under which cirumstances does this create a copy (because I think this is what everybody wants to avoid). According to the documentation this is done, when the array is -shared-. Is this to be understood in the sense of a shared-pointer as the existence of multiple references to the array? I have done a test: I passed an array to the Mex-function and then released the memory with code above. After returning to Matlab the array that I passed was unchanged (which I was glad to see). However, I would have expected that somehow the array is destroyed by calling release, because this somehow detaches the data from the array (at least that's how I understand it).
Does this mean, that Matlab is passing the data by copy or does it keep a reference to the array (so that the data is copied when I call release). Wouldn't that mean, that I can't avoid a copy when using the mechanism you suggest?
Thanks in advance!

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Weitere Antworten (1)

Savyasachi Singh
Savyasachi Singh am 14 Feb. 2020
Bearbeitet: Savyasachi Singh am 14 Feb. 2020
I am extracting the pointer to the underlying data for TypedArray<T> using the following code. The trick is to extract the pointer from TypedIterator<T>.
//! Extracts the pointer to underlying data from the non-const iterator (`TypedIterator<T>`).
/*! This function does not throw any exceptions. */
template <typename T>
inline T* toPointer(const matlab::data::TypedIterator<T>& it) MW_NOEXCEPT {
static_assert(std::is_arithmetic<T>::value && !std::is_const<T>::value,
"Template argument T must be a std::is_arithmetic and non-const type.");
return it.operator->();
/*! Extracts pointer to the first element in the array.
* Example usage:
* \code
* ArrayFactory factory;
* TypedArray<double> A = factory.createArray<double>({ 2,2 }, { 1.0, 3.0, 2.0, 4.0 });
* auto ptr = getPointer(A);
* \endcode
* \note Do not call `getPointer` with temporary object. e.g., the following code is ill-formed.
* auto ptr=getPointer(factory.createArray<double>({ 2,2 },{ 1.0, 3.0, 2.0, 4.0 }));
template <typename T>
inline T* getPointer(matlab::data::TypedArray<T>& arr) MW_NOEXCEPT {
static_assert(std::is_arithmetic<T>::value, "Template argument T must be a std::is_arithmetic type.");
return toPointer(arr.begin());
template <typename T>
inline const T* getPointer(const matlab::data::TypedArray<T>& arr) MW_NOEXCEPT {
return getPointer(const_cast<matlab::data::TypedArray<T>&>(arr));
Add the following #includes
  1. type_traits
  2. MatlabDataArray.hpp
Use the function getPointer as follows
ArrayFactory factory;
TypedArray<double> A = factory.createArray<double>({ 2,2 }, { 1.0, 3.0, 2.0, 4.0 });
auto ptr = getPointer(A); // double*
const TypedArray<double> B = factory.createArray<double>({ 2,2 }, { 1.0, 3.0, 2.0, 4.0 });
auto ptr = getPointer(B); // const double*
// Assuming that inputs[0] is a double array
const TypedArray<double> inArr(inputs[0]);
auto ptr = getPointer(inArr); // const double*
This approach has been working fine for me. Do not call getPointer function on a temporary TypedArray object.
  4 Kommentare
Vincent Huber
Vincent Huber am 24 Sep. 2020
This getPointer function is fantastic but using the static_assert(std::is_arithmetic<T>::value) with T = std::complex<double> does not work and should be adapted.
Simon Müller
Simon Müller am 2 Jun. 2021
Does this allow modifying the underlying data? Or does it only allow reading? Or would I have to use the following method if I want to modify the data?
double* a=inputs[0].release().get();

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