Re: [Rd] How deep can/should lists be nested?

From: Duncan Murdoch <>
Date: Sun, 14 Oct 2012 07:53:09 -0400

On 12-10-14 7:06 AM, Richard Cotton wrote:
> I started idly wondering how deeply lists could be nested, and
> couldn't find an explicit limit in the documentation. With this
> simple test
> a_list <- list()
> count <- 0
> repeat
> {
> a_list[[1]] <- a_list
> count <- count + 1
> }
> my (Win7, R-2.16.0 devel) machine threw an error when count got close to 25000.
> The error that stopped it was
> Error: protect(): protection stack overflow
> I don't know how easy it would be to stop such an error occuring, and
> it probably isn't that useful to be able to nest lists any further. I
> do think it might be useful for users to be able to know how deeply
> they can nest lists though.
> Perhaps it would be better to limit nesting to the value of
> getOption("expressions"). Does anyone have any strong feelings on
> what the correct behaviour should be?

There should be no limit other than memory. That overflow you saw is a bug. Not sure it's worth fixing, since 25000 is far beyond any sensible nesting level, but I'll take a look.

Duncan Murdoch mailing list Received on Sun 14 Oct 2012 - 11:55:38 GMT

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