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bfi 0.2.6

A reasonably fast optimizing Brainfuck interpreter in pure python

This is a python-based interpreter for the Brainfuck esoteric programming language. bfi implements the standard optimisations for clear loop, copy loop, multiply loop and scan loop constructs, and is reasonably fast. The “towers of hanoi” Brainfuck program (hanoi.b) completes in about 2 minutes (compared to over an hour using a python-based interpreter with no optimisations), and the mandelbrot fractal set viewer (mandel.b) completes in about 30 minutes (compared to over 2 hours using a python-based interpreter with no optimisations).

Some minor extra features;

  • Allows a maximum run-time to be set, preventing infinite loops (useful for auto-generated brainfuck code)
  • stdin data can optionally be passed to the Brainfuck program as a string parameter when invoking the interpreter method, and stdout data from the Brainfuck program can optionally be buffered and returned as a string

Check out BrainfuckIntern, an implementation of a genetic algorithm that writes Brainfuck programs, using bfi to provide information for a useful fitness evaluation on generated Brainfuck programs

Implementation details

  • No change on EOF
  • Tape size is configurable, default is 30,000 cells
  • Cells are one byte, valid values between 0-255. Overflow/underflow wraps around


Use pip to install:

pip install bfi

Using the interpreter from the command-line

Once installed, the brainfuck interpreter can be invoked from the command line using the bfi command. Just run bfi and pass a brainfuck source file. Several sample Brainfuck programs are provided in the examples directory within the installed package (in your system’s python2.7/dist-packages directory- on linux-based systems, for example, the full path might be /usr/local/lib/python2.7/dist-packages/bfi/examples).

In the sample commands below, we will run “Lost Kingdom”, a text-based adventure game written in Brainfuck:

$> cd <dist-packages-directory>/bfi/examples
$> bfi LostKingdom.b

Using the interpreter in your own code

Here is how you use the bfi module to execute some Brainfuck code normally (reading data directly from stdin and writing directly to stdout):

>>> import bfi
>>> with open('samples/hello_world.b', 'r') as fh:
...     brainfuck_code = fh.read()
>>> Brainfuck.interpret(brainfuck_code)
Hello World!

Here is how you use the bfi module to execute some Brainfuck code without reading/writing the user’s terminal; input is passed a parameter to interpret(), and any output is returned as a string.

>>> input_data = "test input"
>>> ret = bfi.interpret(brainfuck_code, stdin=input_data, buffer_stdout=True)
>>> print ret
Hello World!


The bfi module only has one method of interest, the interpret method:

Brainfuck.interpret(program, stdin=None, time_limit=None, tape_size=300000, buffer_stdout=False):
  • Parameter program: String. Brainfuck code to be interpreted
  • Parameter stdin: String. stdin data for Brainfuck program. If not set, input will be read directly from stdin as normal
  • Parameter time_limit: Float. If the interpreter runs for longer than time_limit seconds, return without finishing the program (NOTE: this won’t work if your program is blocking on a read from stdin)
  • Parameter tape_size: String. Number of cells in the tape– the array of memory cells– used by the Brainfuck program
  • Parameter buffer_stdout: Boolean. If true, any output printed by the Brainfuck program will be buffered and returned as a string, rather than printed directly to stdout

Return value: If buffer_stdout is set, a string containing the output data is returned. Otherise, an empty string is returned. If time_limit is reached before the interpreter completes, None is returned.

Exceptions: Throws bfi.BrainfuckSyntaxError for unmatched [ or ] characters. Throws bfi.BrainfuckMemoryError for a bad cell access (cell pointer outside the tape).

Example Brainfuck programs

I have included several random Brainfuck programs that I’ve found in various places. I didn’t write any of these programs, I just copied them as-is from other public sources. Descriptive comments (and author’s name, in some cases) can be seen in the Brainfuck source files themselves.

A description of the example Brainfuck programs included with this package follows:

  • bfcl.bf: A Brainfuck-to-ELF translator, in Brainfuck. Reads in Brainfuck source from stdin and writes a Linux ELF file to stdout
  • bitwidth.bf Assorted tests for Brainfuck interpreter/compiler correctness
  • collatz.b A demonstration of the Collatz problem in Brainfuck
  • eoftest.b Tests EOF behaviour of brainfuck interpreters/compilers
  • fib.b Prints a neverending fibonacci sequence
  • gameoflife.b Conway’s Game of Life in Brainfuck
  • hanoi.b Towers of Hanoi in Brainfuck
  • hello_world.b Classic “hello, world!” in Brainfuck
  • LostKingdom.b A text-based adventure game in Brainfuck
  • mandel.b An ASCII mandelbrot fractal set viewer in Brainfuck
  • numwarp.b Prints an enlarged ASCII representation of numbers entered by the user
  • primes.bf Prints prime numbers
  • rot13.b Prints the ROT13 encoding of the string entered by the user
  • sierpinksi.b Displays the Sierpinksi triangle
  • TheBrainfuckedLoneWolf.b ASCII asteroids-inspired top-down shooter game in Brainfuck
File Type Py Version Uploaded on Size
bfi-0.2.6.tar.gz (md5) Source 2017-09-14 135KB