search menu icon-carat-right cmu-wordmark

Recovering Meaningful Variable Names in Decompiled Code

In this project, we showed that the conventional wisdom that variable names cannot be recovered is wrong.

Software Engineering Institute


In this project, we propose the Decompiled Identifier Renaming Engine (DIRE), a novel probabilistic technique for variable name recovery that uses both lexical and structural information. We also present a technique for generating corpora suitable for training and evaluating models of decompiled code renaming, which we use to create a corpus of 164,632 unique x86-64 binaries generated from C projects mined from Github. Our results show that on this corpus DIRE can predict variable names identical to the names in the original source code up to 74.3% of the time.