A. Sepp, J. Kranz and A. Simon. GDSL: A Generic Decoder Specification Language for Interpreting Machine Language. Tools for Automatic Program Analysis, volume 289 of ENTCS, pages 53-64, Deauville, France, September 2012. Springer.

The analysis of executable code requires the reconstruction of instructions from a sequence of bytes (or words) and a specification of their semantics. Most front-ends addressing this problem only support a single architecture, are bound to a specific programming language, or are hard to maintain. In this work, we present a domain specific language (DSL) called GDSL (Generic Decoder Specification Language) for specifying maintainable instruction decoders and the translation of instructions to a semantics. We motivate its design by illustrating its use for the Intel x86 platform. A compiler is presented that generates C code that rivals hand-crafted decoder implementations.

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