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Machine Language Humans do not like to deal in numbers alone-they prefer letters and words. But, strictly speaking, numbers are what machine language is. This lowest level of language, machine language, represents data and program instructions as 1s and Os-binary digits corresponding to the on and off electrical states in the computer.
Each type of computer has its own machine language. In the early days of computing, programmers had rudimentary systems for combining numbers to represent instructions such as add and compare. Primitive by today's standards, the programs were not convenient for people to read and use.
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The computer industry quickly moved to develop assembly languages. Assembly Languages Figure 2: Example Assembly Language Program Today, assembly languages are considered very low level-that is, they are not as convenient for people to use as more recent languages. At the time they were developed, however, they were considered a great leap forward.
To replace the Is and Os used in machine language, assembly languages use mnemonic codes, abbreviations that are easy to remember: A for Add, C for Compare, MP for Multiply, STO for storing information in memory, and so on. Although these codes are not English words, they are still- from the standpoint of human convenience-preferable to numbers Os and 1s alone.
The programmer who uses an assembly language requires a translator to convert the assembly language program into machine language. A translator is needed because machine language is the only language the computer can actually execute. The translator is an assembler program, also referred to as an assembler.
It takes the programs written in assembly language and turns them into machine language. Programmers need not worry about the translating aspect; they need only write programs in assembly language. The translation is taken care of by the assembler.
Although assembly languages represent a step forward, they still have many disadvantages.
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A key disadvantage is that assembly language is detailed in the extreme, making assembly programming repetitive, tedious, and error prone. This drawback is apparent in the program in Figure 2. Assembly language may be easier to read than machine language, but it is still tedious.
High-Level Languages The first widespread use of high-level languages in the early s transformed programming into something quite different from what it had been. Programs were written in an English-like manner, thus making them more convenient to use. As a result, a programmer could accomplish more with less effort, and programs could now direct much more complex tasks.
These so-called third-generation languages spurred the great increase in data processing that characterized the s and s. During that time the number of mainframes in use increased from hundreds to tens of thousands. The impact of third-generation languages on our society has been enormous.
Of course, a translator is needed to translate the symbolic statements of a high-level language into computer-executable machine language; this translator is usually a compiler. There are many compilers for each language and one for each type of computer.
Keep in mind, however, that even though a given program would be compiled to different machine language versions on different machines, the source program itself-the COBOL version-can be essentially identical on each machine. Some languages are created to serve a specific purpose, such as controlling industrial robots or creating graphics.
Many languages, however, are extraordinarily flexible and are considered to be general-purpose. In addition to these three, another popular high-level language is C, which we will discuss later. Very High-Level Languages Languages called very high-level languages are often known by their generation number, that is, they are called fourth-generation languages or, more simply, 4GLs.
Definition Will the real fourth-generation languages please stand up? There is no consensus about what constitutes a fourth-generation language.
The 4GLs are essentially shorthand programming languages. An operation that requires hundreds of lines in a third-generation language such as COBOL typically requires only five to ten lines in a 4GL. However, beyond the basic criterion of conciseness, 4GLs are difficult to describe.
Characteristics Fourth-generation languages share some characteristics. The first is that they make a true break with the prior generation-they are basically non-procedural. A procedural language tells the computer how a task is done: Add this, compare that, do this if something is true, and so forth-a very specific step-by-step process.
The first three generations of languages are all procedural. In a nonprocedural language, the concept changes. Here, users define only what they want the computer to do; the user does not provide the details of just how it is to be done.
Obviously, it is a lot easier and faster just to say what you want rather than how to get it. This leads us to the issue of productivity, a key characteristic of fourth-generation languages. Productivity Folklore has it that fourth-generation languages can improve productivity by a factor of 5 to The folklore is true.
Most experts say the average improvement factor is about that is, you can be ten times more productive in a fourth-generation language than in a third-generation language. Consider this request: Produce a report showing the total units sold for each product, by customer, in each month and year, and with a subtotal for each customer. In addition, each new customer must start on a new page.
The third-generation language COBOL, however, typically requires over statements to fulfill the same request. If we define productivity as producing equivalent results in less time, then fourth-generation languages clearly increase productivity. Downside Fourth-generation languages are not all peaches and cream and productivity. The 4GLs are still evolving, and that which is still evolving cannot be fully defined or standardized.
What is more, since many 4GLs are easy to use, they attract a large number of new users, who may then overcrowd the computer system. One of the main criticisms is that the new languages lack the necessary control and flexibility when it comes to planning how you want the output to look.
A common perception of 4GLs is that they do not make efficient use of machine resources; however, the benefits of getting a program finished more quickly can far outweigh the extra costs of running it.
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Benefits Fourth-generation languages are beneficial because They are results-oriented; they emphasize what instead of how. They improve productivity because programs are easy to write and change. They can be used with a minimum of training by both programmers and nonprogrammers. They shield users from needing an awareness of hardware and program structure.
It was not long ago that few people believed that 4GLs would ever be able to replace third-generation languages.
These 4GL languages are being used, but in a very limited way. Query Languages A variation on fourth-generation languages are query languages, which can be used to retrieve information from databases. Data is usually added to databases according to a plan, and planned reports may also be produced.
But what about a user who needs an unscheduled report or a report that differs somehow from the standard reports?
A user can learn a query language fairly easily and then be able to input a request and receive the resulting report right on his or her own terminal or personal computer. A standardized query language, which can be used with several different commercial database programs, is Structured Query Language, popularly known as SQL.
Natural Languages The word "natural" has become almost as popular in computing circles as it has in the supermarket. Fifth-generation languages are, as you may guess, even more ill-defined than fourth-generation languages.
They are most often called natural languages because of their resemblance to the "natural" spoken English language. And, to the manager new to computers for whom these languages are now aimed, natural means human-like.
Instead of being forced to key correct commands and data names in correct order, a manager tells the computer what to do by keying in his or her own words. Figure 3: Example of Natural Language Interaction A manager can say the same thing any number of ways.
For example, "Get me tennis racket sales for January" works just as well as "I want January tennis racket revenues. The natural language translates human instructions-bad grammar, slang, and all-into code the computer understands. We pride ourselves on providing outstanding customer service to ensure our candidates have the best possible experience when taking their IELTS test with us.
What computer books would you recommend reading?
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Please contact me by phone or email to assist my enquiry Can we call you to get started? Recommended Articles.Very High-Level Languages Languages called very high-level languages are often known by their generation number, that is, they are called fourth-generation languages or, more simply, 4GLs. It can be erased and reprogrammed about ten thousand times. Showing A physical fitness test is a test designed to measure physical strength , agility , and endurance. When used for personnel selection, the tests might be referred to as a work sample.
The variable names are set up in such a way that, even if you know nothing about programming, you can still understand what the program does.
Straightforward tasks may be solved easily in C, but complex problems require mastery of the language.
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