This exercise surprised me a little bit. I did not expect that gcc (GCC 6.3.0 in the MinGW suite) would use the C11 standard by default, which I realised after I read the documentation. Here's the code that compiles without any errors or warnings:


#include <stdio.h>
#include <stdlib.h>

void input(int m, int n, int a[m][n])
    for (int i = 0; i < m; i++) {
        for (int j = 0; j < n; j++) {
            printf("%d, %d : ", i, j);
            scanf("%d", &a[i][j]);

void print(int m, int n, int a[m][n])
    int i, j;
    for (i = 0; i < m; i++) {
        for (j = 0; j < n; j++) {
            printf("%3d ", a[i][j]);

void multiply(int m, int n, int p, int a[m][n], int b[n][p], int c[m][p])
    for (int i = 0; i < m; i++) {
        for (int j = 0; j < p; j++) {
            c[i][j] = 0;
            for (int k = 0; k < n; k++) {
                c[i][j] += a[i][k] * b[k][j];

int main()
    int r1, c1, r2, c2;
    printf("Row and column for matrix #1 :\n");
    scanf("%d %d", &r1, &c1);
    printf("Row and column for matrix #2 :\n");
    scanf("%d %d", &r2, &c2);

    if (r2 != c1) {
        printf("The matrices are incompatible.\n");

    int mat1[r1][c1], mat2[r2][c2], ans[r1][c2];
    printf("Enter elements of the first matrix.\n");
    input(r1, c1, mat1);
    printf("The elements of the first matrix are :\n");
    print(r1, c1, mat1);
    printf("Enter elements of the second matrix.\n");
    input(r2, c2, mat2);
    printf("The elements of the second matrix are :\n");
    print(r2, c2, mat2);

    multiply(r1, r2, c2, mat1, mat2, ans);
    printf("The product is :\n");
    print(r1, c2, ans);

    return EXIT_SUCCESS;

Feedback and criticism on any and all aspects are welcome.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Can this code even work? The functions expect a two-dimensional array, and you pass a one-dimensional to them. This is a tricky part of the C language. Defining a struct helps against that. \$\endgroup\$ – Roland Illig Oct 29 '17 at 11:18
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I personally find this a celebration of progress. Extremely clean and simple thanks to C11. I fail to see how is C98 "solution" better or simpler? \$\endgroup\$ – DBJDBJ Feb 25 '19 at 6:20

I suggest you roll an explicit matrix type. For example:

typedef struct matrix_t {
    size_t rows;
    size_t cols;
    int* data;
} matrix_t;

void matrix_t_multiply(matrix_t* left, matrix_t* right, matrix_t* result) {
| improve this answer | |
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've read some posts that propagate against the use of typedef structs. Do they have a valid reason to do so? I personally find this soution elegant. \$\endgroup\$ – Hungry Blue Dev Oct 30 '17 at 20:07
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @Astrobleme A matter of taste, and it is said that arguing about such is insane. \$\endgroup\$ – coderodde Oct 30 '17 at 22:48
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ @Astrobleme, you may have been reading reviews of C++ code, where the typedef provides no additional function (the structure tag is automatically also its name in C++, but not in C). \$\endgroup\$ – Toby Speight Oct 31 '17 at 8:22

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