Category : 4th Class
You communicate with your family and friends by speaking languages like English, Hindi or your mother tongue. A computer can understand only binary language because it operates upon electricity. Electric signals have two states - ON or OFF (or to be very specific - high voltage or low voltage.) If we denote ON by 1 and OFF by 0, it becomes a binary language i.e. a language with just two symbols. For the computer 1 means "Yes, there is power" and 0 means "No, there is no power". Thus, it can understand only electric signals and the computer can understand binary language as it symbolizes electric signals. A computer follows the instructions given by the programmer to perform a specific job, such as add, read a file, etc. This sequence of instructions is known as a program. A program written for a computer is known as software. The computer understands only the binary language which is also known as Machine Language or Low Level Language. Earlier programs were written only in machine language in which each instruction was in the form of long strings of Is and Os. These programs were understood by the computer but not easily understood by human beings. Therefore the computer remained a mystery to the common man till High Level Languages were developed. The journey of the computer software from the machine language to high level languages is an interesting one which we will discuss in some detail in this chapter.
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