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machine language
Last modified: Friday, November 16, 2001 

programming languages
The lowest-level programming language (except for computers that utilize programmable microcode) Machine languages are the only languages understood by computers. While easily understood by computers, machine languages are almost impossible for humans to use because they consist entirely of numbers. Programmers, therefore, use either a high-level programming language or an assembly language. An assembly language contains the same instructions as a machine language, but the instructions and variables have names instead of being just numbers.

Programs written in high-level languages are translated into assembly language or machine language by a compiler. Assembly language programs are translated into machine language by a program called an assembler.

Every CPU has its own unique machine language. Programs must be rewritten or recompiled, therefore, to run on different types of computers.

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assembler

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instruction

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low-level language

microcode

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