Instagram's experimental performance oriented greenfield implementation of Python.


Welcome to Skybison!

Skybison is experimental performance-oriented greenfield implementation of Python 3.8. It contains a number of performance optimizations, including: small objects; a moving GC; hidden classes; bytecode inline caching; type-specialized bytecode; an experimental template JIT.

Is this supported?


Even though the project is no longer under active development internally, we've made Skybison publicly available in the hopes that people might find its history and internals interesting, or maybe even useful. It has not been polished or documented for anyone else's use.

We cannot commit to fixing external bug reports or reviewing pull requests. That said, if you have experience in dynamic language runtimes and have ideas to make Skybison faster; or if you work on CPython and want to use Skybison as inspiration for improvements in CPython, feel free to open a Pull Request.

Instagram is now developing Cinder.

How do I build it?

See for an overview. However, this project was built in an internal development environment. We cannot guarantee that this project will build or run on any arbitrary environment.

What's here?

The project is structured in the following component directories:


The core of the runtime resides here. In it is all of the core types, core modules, bytecode interpreter, and template JIT.

  • objects.[h|cpp] - All object types. See
  • *-builtins.[h|cpp] - Basic functionality of builtin types
  • *-module.[h|cpp] - Implementation of built-in modules and types correlated to a module.
  • interpreter.[h|cpp] - Implementation of all opcodes. See
  • runtime/interpreter-gen-x64.cpp - Implementation of the assembly interpreter and template JIT.
  • heap.[h|cpp] - Class that manages managed objects. See
  • runtime.[h|cpp] - The Runtime. This is where everything starts.


The Python library code resides here. In it is a Skybison-specific set of library files and their tests. It is meant to be overlaid on top of the CPython standard library so that imports fall back on standard library code.

./capi and ./ext

Our C-API emulation layer resides here. Since any C code that interfaces with Python's C-API expects PyObject* not to move, and the runtime has a moving GC, we have built a layer of handle objects and C-API functions.

The structure inside this ./ext is designed to mimic the CPython repo. For example, CPython defines PyLong_FromLong in Objects/longobject.c. In Skybison, this function should be implemented in ext/Objects/longobject.cpp.


We vendor several open-source projects for both testing and core functionality. They all reside here. Included in this list is a version of CPython, which we use for its Python and C library code.


Development tools and helper scripts for building and debugging.


Set of standard Python benchmarks with an accompanying test-runner.


This folder contains documentation.

Other notes

The repository has the name "pyro" sprinkled throughout the codebase. This is a holdover from an old internal codename.


Please see LICENSE.

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