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Computing (FOLDOC) dictionary
reverse engineering
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system, product, design The process of analysing an existing
system to identify its components and their interrelationships
and create representations of the system in another form or at
a higher level of abstraction. Reverse engineering is usually
undertaken in order to redesign the system for better
maintainability or to produce a copy of a system without
access to the design from which it was originally produced.
For example, one might take the executable code of a
computer program, run it to study how it behaved with
different input and then attempt to write a program oneself
which behaved identically (or better). An integratedcircuit might also be reverse engineered by an unscrupulous
company wishing to make unlicensed copies of a popular chip.