An Analysis of x86-64 Inline Assembly in C Programs

Rigger, Manuel and Marr, Stefan and Kell, Stephen and Leopoldseder, David and Mössenböck, Hanspeter (2018) An Analysis of x86-64 Inline Assembly in C Programs. In: 14th ACM SIGPLAN/SIGOPS International Conference on Virtual Execution Environments, 25 March 2018, Williamsburg, VA, USA. (doi: (Full text available)

PDF - Author's Accepted Manuscript
Download (313kB) Preview
Official URL


C codebases frequently embed nonportable and unstandardized elements such as inline assembly code. Such elements are not well understood, which poses a problem to tool developers who aspire to support C code. This paper investigates the use of x86-64 inline assembly in 1264 C projects from GitHub and combines qualitative and quantitative analyses to answer questions that tool authors may have. We found that 28.1% of the most popular projects contain inline assembly code, although the majority contain only a few fragments with just one or two instructions. The most popular instructions constitute a small subset concerned largely with multicore semantics, performance optimization, and hardware control. Our findings are intended to help developers of C-focused tools, those testing compilers, and language designers seeking to reduce the reliance on inline assembly. They may also aid the design of tools focused on inline assembly itself.

Item Type: Conference or workshop item (Paper)
Subjects: Q Science
Q Science > Q Science (General)
Divisions: Faculties > Sciences > School of Computing
Depositing User: Stefan Marr
Date Deposited: 26 Feb 2018 17:38 UTC
Last Modified: 18 Oct 2018 08:00 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Marr, Stefan:
  • Depositors only (login required):


Downloads per month over past year