GTIRB  v1.10.4
GrammaTech Intermediate Representation for Binaries
GTIRB Documentation


The GrammaTech Intermediate Representation for Binaries (GTIRB) is a machine code analysis and rewriting data structure. It is intended to facilitate the communication of binary IR between programs performing binary disassembly, analysis, transformation, and pretty printing. GTIRB is modeled on LLVM-IR, and seeks to serve a similar functionality of encouraging communication and interoperability between tools.

The remainder of this file describes various aspects of GTIRB:


GTIRB has the following structure. Solid lines denote inheritance. Dotted lines denote reference by UUID.


An instance of GTIRB may include multiple modules (Module) which represent loadable objects such as executables or libraries, an inter-procedural control flow graph (IPCFG), and Auxiliary Data tables (AuxData) which can hold arbitrary analysis results in user-defined formats which can easily reference other elements of the IR. Each module holds information such as symbols (Symbol) and sections which themselves hold the actual bytes and data and code blocks of the module. The CFG consists of basic blocks (Block) and control flow edges between these blocks. Each data or code block references a range of bytes in a byte interval (ByteInterval). A section may hold one large byte interval holding all blocks—if the relative positions of blocks in that section are defined—or may hold one byte interval per block—if the relative positions of blocks is not defined, e.g. for the code blocks in the .text section during program rewriting. Each symbol holds a pointer to the block or datum it references.


GTIRB explicitly does NOT represent instructions or instruction semantics but does provide symbolic operand information and access to the bytes. There are many intermediate languages (IL)s for representation of instruction semantics (e.g., BAP's BIL, Angr's Vex, or Ghidra's P-code). GTIRB works with these or any other IL by storing instructions generally and efficiently as raw machine-code bytes and separately storing the symbolic and control flow information. The popular Capstone/Keystone decoder/encoder provide an excellent option to read and write instructions from/to GTIRB's machine-code byte representation without committing to any particular semantic IL. By supporting multiple ILs and separate storage of analysis results in auxiliary data tables GTIRB enables collaboration between independent binary analysis and rewriting teams and tools.

Auxiliary Data

GTIRB provides for the sharing of additional information, e.g. analysis results, in the form of AuxData objects. These can store maps and vectors of basic GTIRB types in a portable way. The GTIRB manual describes the structure for common types of auxiliary data such as function boundary information, type information, or results of common analyses in Standard AuxData Schemata.


Every element of GTIRB—e.g., modules (Module), symbols (Symbol), and blocks (Block)—has a universally unique identifier (UUID). UUIDs allow both first-class IR components and AuxData tables to reference elements of the IR.

Instructions and symbolic operands can be addressed by the class Offset which encapsulates a UUID (that refers to the instruction's block) and an offset.


Packages currently existing for easily installing GTIRB (and attendant tooling including the ddisasm disassembler and gtirb-pprinter pretty printer) on Windows, Ubuntu, and Arch Linux. See below for instructions. Additionally, a public Docker image exists at grammatech/ddisasm with all of these tools installed. GTIRB is versioned with Major.Minor.Patch versioning where Major version increments will require significant source changes but should be very rare, Minor version increments may require small source changes, and Patch version increments shouldn't break any downstream builds. We do not yet provide ABI compatibility across any version changes.

Python API

The GTIRB Python API may be installed with the following. Note however, that installation of the ddisasm and gtirb-pprinter packages as described below is recommended for use with every API.

pip install gtirb


Pre-built debug and release binaries are available for Windows at: windows-debug/, and windows-release/. A symbol server for the debugging symbols for both the release and debug binaries is available at For information about how to use a symbol server with your debugger, please see Specify_symbol_locations_and_loading_behavior or your debugger's documentation.


Packages for Ubuntu 18, and 20 are available in the GTIRB apt repository and may be installed per the following instructions.

First, add GrammaTech's APT key.

wget -O - | apt-key add -

Next update your sources.list file.

echo "deb [distribution] [component]"| sudo tee -a /etc/apt/sources.list


  • [distribution] is either bionic or focal if you're on Ubuntu 18 or 20 respectively, and
  • [component] is either stable, which holds the last versioned release, or unstable, which holds the HEAD of the repository.

Arch Linux

The Arch User Repository (AUR) includes packages for GTIRB: gtirb-git, gtirb-pprinter-git, and ddisasm-git. The following command will build and install all three packages using the popular aur helper yay.

yay ddisasm-git


GTIRB's C++ API should successfully build in 64-bits with GCC, Clang, and Visual Studio compilers supporting at least C++17. GTIRB uses CMake which must be installed with at least version 3.10.

The common build process looks like this:

mkdir build
cd build
# Note: You may wish to add some -D arguments to the next command. See below.
cmake <path/to/gtirb>
cmake --build .
# Run the test suite.

For customizing the GTIRB build, you can get a list of customization options by navigating to your build directory and running:

cmake -LH


To build and install GTIRB, the following requirements should be installed:

  • CMake, version 3.10.0 or higher.
    • Ubuntu 18 provides this version via the APT package cmake.
    • Ubuntu 16 and earlier provide out of date versions; build from source on those versions.
  • Protobuf, version 3.0.0 or later.
    • Ubuntu 18 provides this version via the APT packages libprotobuf-dev and protobuf-compiler.
    • Ubuntu 16 and earlier provide out of date versions; build from source on those versions.
  • Boost (non-standard Ubuntu package from, version 1.67 or later.
    • Ubuntu 18 only has version 1.65 in the standard repository. See Ubuntu instructions above.


GTIRB is designed to be serialized using Google protocol buffers (i.e., protobuf), enabling easy and efficient use from any programming language.

GTIRB may also be used through a dedicated API implemented in multiple languages. The APIs provide efficient data structures suitable for use by binary analysis and rewriting applications; see below for details.

Using Serialized GTIRB Data

The serialized protobuf data produced by GTIRB allows for exploration and manipulation in the language of your choice. The Google protocol buffers homepage lists the languages in which protocol buffers can be used directly; users of other languages can convert the protobuf-formatted data to JSON format and then use the JSON data in their applications.

The proto directory in this repository contains the protocol buffer message type definitions for GTIRB. You can inspect these .proto files to determine the structure of the various GTIRB message types. The top-level message type is IR.

For more details, see Using Serialized GTIRB Data.

GTIRB API Implementations

The GTIRB API is currently available in C++, Python, and Common Lisp. There is a partial Java API which is not ready for external use. For language-independent API information, see GTIRBComponents". For information about the different API implementations, see: