The Knack Of Computer Programming
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- Thu, 28-07-2016
Computers are like musical instruments, build to perform. They are machines, cleverly crafted but made by dumb stuff. They can do only precisely what they are told, what makes them perform is the stream of instructions written in code. The code of computer program is software. Now days software are being translated very easily as it was really a tough work to do in the early times.
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Don Knuth has spent five decades of his life practicing and teaching the art of programming, the discipline he loves. To people loved puzzle solving and intricacy, early computers were seductive and empowering. Astonishing fast, they seemed capable of figuring out just about anything. Anything, that is, that could be expressed using the native commands for the particular computer it’s the machine language.
Computers are very dumb and you have to use very small words to make them understand. You have to speak in a much formalized way a lot of times, and that what is called programming. It is about knowing how to speak to the machine in a way that will make it little work in a way you want to.
Early programmers wrote machine language in a numbers, which represented strings of zeros and once which is on and off called as the binary commands of an individual computer circuits understands. But for human, writing in numbers is tedious and error prone, so it didn’t take long for programmers to invent ways of making this machine language more human friendly.
The first step was to substitute names and symbols that were easier to remember, and then get the computer itself to translate the coded assembly language into binary. Assembly language was still tedious, but using the computers themselves to translate from human programming language to the machines binary language was the key that unlocked the software revolution.
After four year work, in 1957, IBM released the first complete higher level language. Programmers could now express familiar scientific formulas and logical instructions in a statement that made sense to them.
FORTRAN can then translate this formulation into the expanded instructions in binary the computer needed. Programmers no longer had to learn each computer’s machine language instructions. Instead, compilers were written to translate FORTRAN program of any computer.
FORTRAN was written for the scientists and engineers who first needed and supported computing. In 1959, a language called COBOL made programming for business application easier. Over the decades, hundreds of languages have been written, optimized for different needs. The expressions in these languages become more distant over the year from what the machines need to do. Today, millions of us do, routinely, what programmers do, they tell a computer in code, what they want it to do.
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