A programming concept.

When accessing an array in memory, it's a common error to access a part of an array that doesn't exist. For instance, trying to access element 9 in an array that is only 7 elements long. Bounds checking covers this, but is a bit more of a generic concept as well.

In general, bounds checking as a concept is a way of making sure that a program never tries to access something that doesn't exist. In object-oriented systems, any container class can provide bounds checking with get/set functions. For instance, a Vector class can provide a function named Access() that checks the element the program is trying to access is valid.

Bounds checking in object-oriented systems is easy because of encapsulation - any complex container class should be aware of its current size. In languages with no support for encapsulation (BASIC springs to mind) it's a little less neat - you need to keep the bounds of the array recorded in other variables in the same scope as the array.

Bounds checking is yet further support for get/set functions in OO systems, and should be included in any abstract system so that users can't break it.