I solved this question on LeetCode.com:

Alice has a hand of cards, given as an array of integers. Now she wants to rearrange the cards into groups so that each group is size W, and consists of W consecutive cards. Return true if and only if she can. For e.g., for hand=[1,2,3,6,2,3,4,7,8] and W=3, the answer should be true.


class Solution {
    bool isNStraightHand(vector<int>& nums, int k) {
        if(nums.size()%k!=0) return false;
        map<int, int> _m;
        for(int num: nums) _m[num]++;
        while(_m.size()) {
            auto it=_m.begin();
            int count=1;
            int prev=it->first;
            while(count<=k) {
                if(count>1 && it->first-prev!=1) return false;
                else prev=it->first;
                if(it->second==0) {
                    auto backupIt=it;
                    _m.erase(backupIt);     //am I causing UB here?
        return true;

This works, but it doesn't look like a sturdy solution. I am curious to know if I am causing Undefined Behavior (UB) when erasing the element above. Earlier, I just had _m.erase(it);, but that wasn't good either. I think so, since the official website says:

References and iterators to the erased elements are invalidated.

so, when I do a it++ in the following line, isn't that invalid? That part in particular can probably be improved.


1 Answer 1


The answer is "yes" it is UB. To fix it just rewrite the part as:

    it = _m.erase(it);
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ALX23z, I am not sure it helps. If I don't it++ after erasing the element, I wouldn't be pointing to the next one in the next iteration of the inner while loop. \$\endgroup\$
    – J. Doe
    Jun 12, 2020 at 1:59
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @J.Doe lookup reference for map::erase en.cppreference.com/w/cpp/container/map/erase it returns following iterator. What I wrote is basically from their example of use of erase. \$\endgroup\$
    – ALX23z
    Jun 12, 2020 at 7:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ good point! Thank you! :) \$\endgroup\$
    – J. Doe
    Jun 13, 2020 at 18:00

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