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Lesson Details:
July 10, 2020

I: Introduction

Concepts of Programming Languages

Programming languages are used for creating instructions that can be executed by a computer. The instructions are in the form of codes which are written using some programming language. This is done by creating source codes, compiling them and then executing them. A complete set of instructions are called programs. Programs are usually written in machine language which is not comprehensible to human beings. To make it understandable to humans, there are several levels of programming languages that are used to create instructions that can be executed by computers. These levels are given below:

High-level languages

These are also known as higher level languages or HLLs which are easier to use compared to low level languages. They are easier because they don’t require you to know the details about computer architecture or its inner working. You can use high-level programming languages to build more complicated programs with ease. Since they are easy to use, they can also be used for creating programs for simpler tasks. But the disadvantage of using high-level programming languages is that it is harder for the computer to execute these programs. That is why we use compilers to convert the source code in high-level programming languages into machine language so that the computer can understand and execute it.

Low-level languages

This is the opposite of high-level programming languages and requires you to have good knowledge in computer hardware and its architecture in order to understand and use them. They are known as low-level languages because they deal with the lowest level of computer architecture such as hardware, registers etc. If you want to write your program in a way that allows you to control every aspect of the computer, then you should go for low-level programming languages. They provide great control over the computer but since they are hard to understand and use, we hardly use them for creating programs today. However, they still find their use in systems programming and in writing device drivers for different hardware devices like printers and keyboards etc.

Machine language

This is the lowest level of programming languages and consists only of the binary codes 0 and 1. These codes represent different instructions that can be executed by a computer. Assembly language is an example of machine language which is difficult to read and understand by humans. We write our programs in high-level programming language and then translate them into machine language so that the computer can execute them. There are no compilers or interpreters available for machine language because it is the lowest level of programming languages and cannot be directly understood by a compiler or interpreter.

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