This section covers all columns in the Processor Table. Only a subset of these registers relate to the instruction set; the remaining registers exist only to enable an efficient arithmetization and are marked with an asterisk (*).

*clkcycle countercounts the number of cycles the program has been running for
*IsPaddingpadding indicatorindicates whether current state is only recorded to improve on STARK's computational runtime
ipinstruction pointercontains the memory address (in Program Memory) of the instruction
cicurrent instruction registercontains the current instruction
nianext instruction registercontains either the instruction at the next address in Program Memory, or the argument for the current instruction
*ib0 through ib6instruction bitdecomposition of the instruction's opcode used to keep the AIR degree low
jspjump stack pointercontains the memory address (in jump stack memory) of the top of the jump stack
jsojump stack origincontains the value of the instruction pointer of the last call
jsdjump stack destinationcontains the argument of the last call
st0 through st15operational stack registerscontain explicit operational stack values
*op_stack_pointeroperational stack pointerthe current size of the operational stack
*hv0 through hv5helper variable registershelper variables for some arithmetic operations
*cjd_mulclock jump difference lookup multiplicitymultiplicity with which the current clk is looked up by the Op Stack Table, RAM Table, and Jump Stack Table


Register ip, the instruction pointer, contains the address of the current instruction in Program Memory. The instruction is contained in the register current instruction, or ci. Register next instruction (or argument), or nia, either contains the next instruction or the argument for the current instruction in ci. For reasons of arithmetization, ci is decomposed, giving rise to the instruction bit registers, labeled ib0 through ib6.


The stack is represented by 16 registers called stack registers (st0st15) plus the op stack underflow memory. The top 16 elements of the op stack are directly accessible, the remainder of the op stack, i.e, the part held in op stack underflow memory, is not. In order to access elements of the op stack held in op stack underflow memory, the stack has to shrink by discarding elements from the top – potentially after writing them to RAM – thus moving lower elements into the stack registers.

The stack grows upwards, in line with the metaphor that justifies the name "stack".

For reasons of arithmetization, the stack always contains a minimum of 16 elements. Trying to run an instruction which would result in a stack of smaller total length than 16 crashes the VM.

Stack elements st0 through st10 are initially 0. Stack elements st11 through st15, i.e., the very bottom of the stack, are initialized with the hash digest of the program that is being executed. See the mechanics of program attestation for further explanations on stack initialization.

The register op_stack_pointer is not directly accessible by the program running in TritonVM. It exists only to allow efficient arithmetization.

Helper Variables

Some instructions require helper variables in order to generate an efficient arithmetization. To this end, there are 6 helper variable registers, labeled hv0 through hv5. These registers are part of the arithmetization of the architecture, but not needed to define the instruction set.

Because they are only needed for some instructions, the helper variables are not generally defined. For instruction group decompose_arg and instructions skiz, divine_sibling, split, and eq, the behavior is defined in the respective sections.