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Computing (FOLDOC) dictionary (also found in English - English (Wordnet), French - Vietnamese)
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programming (Or "computer program", "program", "code") The
instructions executed by a computer, as opposed to the
physical device on which they run (the "hardware").
The term was coined by the eminent statistician, John Tukey.
Programs stored on non-volatile storage built from
integrated circuits (e.g. ROM or PROM) are usually
called firmware.
Software can be split into two main types - system software
and application software or application programs. System
software is any software required to support the production or
execution of application programs but which is not specific to
any particular application. Examples of system software would
include the operating system, compilers, editors and
sorting programs.
Examples of application programs would include an accounts
package or a CAD program. Other broad classes of
application software include real-time software, businesssoftware, scientific and engineering software, embeddedsoftware, personal computer software and artificialintelligence software.
Software includes both source code written by humans and
executable machine code produced by assemblers or
compilers. It does not usually include the data processed
by programs unless this is in a format such as multimedia
which depends on the use of computers for its presentation.
This distinction becomes unclear in cases such as spreadsheets which can contain both instructions (formulae and
macros) and data. There are also various intermediate
compiled or semi-compiled, forms of software such as
library files and byte-code.
Some claim that documentation (both paper and electronic) is
also software. Others go further and define software to be
programs plus documentation though this does not correspond
with common usage.
The noun "program" describes a single, complete and
more-or-less self-contained list of instructions, often stored
in a single file, whereas "code" and "software" are
uncountable nouns describing some number of instructions which
may constitute one or more programs or part thereof. Most
programs, however, rely heavily on various kinds of operatingsystem software for their execution. The nounds "code" and
"software" both refer to the same thing but "code" tends to
suggest an interest in the implementation details whereas
"software" is more of a user's term.