compiler meaning of compiler in Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English

The highly regarded GCC is considered by many to be the most important piece of free software (i.e., software that is free not only in a monetary sense but also with regard to all aspects of use). Formerly called the GNU C Compiler, it now contains compilers for the C, C++, Objective C, Fortran, Java and Ada programming languages. It has been ported to (i.e., modified to run on) more processors and operating systems than any other compiler, and it runs on in excess of 60 platforms (i.e., combinations of processors and operating systems). A compiler is a computer program that translates computer code written in a high-level programming language into a low-level language.

The back end generates the target-dependent assembly code, performing register allocation in the process. The back end performs instruction scheduling, which re-orders instructions to keep parallel execution units busy by filling delay slots. Although most optimization problems are NP-hard, heuristic techniques for solving them are well-developed and currently implemented in production-quality compilers.

definition of compiler

A compiler is a specialized computer program that converts source code written in one programming language into another language, usually machine language so that it can be understood by processors (i.e., logic chips). Some programming languages are written so a compiler can read the source code only once and generate the machine code. Sometimes, it is because of forward declarations offunctionsor classes. Early operating systems and software were written in assembly language. In the 1960s and early 1970s, the use of high-level languages for system programming was still controversial due to resource limitations. However, several research and industry efforts began the shift toward high-level systems programming languages, for example, BCPL, BLISS, B, and C.

Compiler correctness

While not widely used, Bash and Batch compilers have been written. More recently sophisticated interpreted languages became part of the developers tool kit. (Lua is widely used in game development.) All of these have interpreter and compiler support. A compiler is a special program that translates a programming language’s source code into machine code, bytecode or another programming language. The source code is typically written in a high-level, human-readable language such as Java or C++. A programmer writes the source code in a code editor or an integrated development environment that includes an editor, saving the source code to one or more text files.

Separate phases provide design improvements that focus development on the functions in the compilation process. A compiler implements a formal transformation from a high-level source program to a low-level target program. Compiler design can define an end-to-end solution or tackle a defined subset that interfaces with other compilation tools e.g. preprocessors, assemblers, linkers. Design requirements include rigorously defined interfaces both internally between compiler components and externally between supporting toolsets.

Regardless of the exact number of phases in the compiler design, the phases can be assigned to one of three stages. Compilers are very complex programs, and compiler design is a very complicated task . This implies that the compiler can also convert from a low-level language to a high-level language.

definition of compiler

The Using the Commandline Compiler documentation assumes you are using the full-featured compiler, solc. Publication of Index level when component shares are not tradingThe Index Compiler may publish the Index level at a time when one or more shares comprising the Index are not trading. David Bolton is a software developer who has worked for several major firms, including Morgan Stanley, PwC, BAE Systems, and LCH. Join Macmillan Dictionary on Twitter and Facebook for daily word facts, quizzes and language news. The compiler of this work, however, seems to have used a regnal list of the Bernician kings, which differed considerably from most of those found in our early authorities.


Aldin has spent six decades in radio and as a compiler or annotator of blues and folk reissue albums. The playlist itself—average date circa 1961—is heavily influenced by the music of its compiler’s own adolescence, featuring artists to whom Dylan has been remarkably loyal throughout his career. Needs to review the security of your connection before proceeding. Any opinions in the examples do not represent the opinion of the Cambridge Dictionary editors or of Cambridge University Press or its licensors. Americans spent an estimated $11 billion last year on bottled water, according to the leading compiler of facts and figures about the beverage industry. Techopedia™ is your go-to tech source for professional IT insight and inspiration.

Converts the input character sequence to a canonical form ready for the parser. Languages which strop their keywords or allow arbitrary spaces within identifiers require this phase. The top-down, recursive-descent, table-driven parsers used in the 1960s typically read the source one character at a time and did not require a separate tokenizing phase. Atlas Autocode and Imp are examples of stropped languages whose compilers would have a Line Reconstruction phase. A compiler for a relatively simple language written by one person might be a single, monolithic piece of software. However, as the source language grows in complexity the design may be split into a number of interdependent phases.

A person or thing that compiles; specif., a computer program that translates instructions, other programs, etc. in a high-level language into machine language. Or take the case of JavaScript, which is often described as an interpreted program rather than one that is compiled. When you look deeper into the practice of putting JavaScript together, it’s clear that pieces of the code can be compiled, which leads to a much more detailed explanation of how these two processes work. Source-to-source Compiler or transcompiler or transpiler is a compiler that translates source code written in one programming language into the source code of another programming language. A program that translates into an object code format that is not supported on the compilation machine is called a cross compiler and is commonly used to prepare code for embedded applications. The output of the compilation is only an interconnection of transistors or lookup tables.

Words Starting With

They include extracting words from the source code, analyzing the sequence of such words and checking whether they match the syntax of the programming language for which the compiler is intended. While doing this, a compiler must adhere strictly to the meaning of the program being compiled. Note though that the source code that comes out of decompilers is typically not very “well-written” and is unlikely to match the actual source code used.

So compilers were split up into smaller programs which each made a pass over the source performing some of the required analysis and translations. The Ada STONEMAN document formalized the program support environment along with the kernel and minimal . An Ada interpreter NYU/ED supported development and standardization efforts with the American National Standards Institute and the International Standards Organization . Military Services included the compilers in a complete integrated design environment along the lines of the STONEMAN document. Army and Navy worked on the Ada Language System project targeted to DEC/VAX architecture while the Air Force started on the Ada Integrated Environment targeted to IBM 370 series.

Compiled programs are translated into the machine language of the target computer. Interpreted programs are either kept in their original source code or are precompiled into an intermediate form. In both cases, an interpreter is required to translate the program into machine language at runtime, whereas the compiled program is “ready to go.”

  • As computer technology provided more resources, compiler designs could align better with the compilation process.
  • A translator or language processor is a program that translates an input program written in a programming language into an equivalent program in another language.
  • A compiler is a program that translates human-readable source code into computer-executable machine code.
  • The reason is that once a program has been converted to C, it is easy to recompile it for almost any platform because C compilers are available for almost any platform.
  • Regardless of the source language or the type of output, a compiler must ensure that the logic of the output code always matches that of the input code and that nothing is lost when converting the code.

The first compiler was developed in 1952 by Grace Hopper, a pioneering computer scientist. @D.W.♦ So if software converts a low-level language to a high-level language, is it a compiler or a decompiler? @Yuval Filmus So if software converts a low-level language to a high-level language, is it a compiler or a decompiler? High-level language is written by a developer and machine language can be understood by the processor. A compiler is a translator that converts the high-level language into the machine language. The output of a compiler that produces code for a virtual machine may or may not be executed on the same platform as the compiler that produced it.

This code is created for a specific processor type, such as an Intel Pentium or PowerPC. The program can then be recognized by the processor and run from the operating system. A compiler is a software program that converts computer programming code written by a human programmer into binary code that can be understood and executed by a specific CPU.

Lexical Analysis

A compiler that supports the source programming language reads the files, analyzes the code, and translates it into a format suitable for the target platform. A compiler is a software program that is responsible for changing initial programmed code into a more basic machine language closer to the “bare metal” of the hardware, and more readable by the computer itself. A high-level source code that is written by a developer in definition of compiler a high-level programming language gets translated into a lower-level object code by the compiler, to make the result “digestible” to the processor. PQCC research into code generation process sought to build a truly automatic compiler-writing system. The effort discovered and designed the phase structure of the PQC. The phases included analyses , intermediate translation to virtual machine , and translation to the target .

definition of compiler

In many application domains, the idea of using a higher-level language quickly caught on. Because of the expanding functionality supported by newer programming languages and the increasing complexity of computer architectures, compilers became more complex. After the code passes through all three analysis phases, the compiler generates an intermediate representation of the source code. The IR code makes it easier to translate the source code into a different format. However, it must accurately represent the source code in every respect, without omitting any functionality.

Compiled versus interpreted languages

While the projects did not provide the desired results, they did contribute to the overall effort on Ada development. DARPA sponsored a compiler project with Wulf’s CMU research team in 1970. The Production Quality Compiler-Compiler PQCC design would produce a Production Quality Compiler from formal definitions of source language and the target. PQCC tried to extend the term compiler-compiler beyond the traditional meaning as a parser generator (e.g., Yacc) without much success. Interpreters do not generate IR code or save generated machine code. They process the code one statement at a time at runtime, without pre-converting the code or preparing it in advance for a particular platform.

What Does Compiler Mean?

The act of transformingsource codeinto machine code is called “compilation.” When all the code is transformed at one time before it reaches the platforms that run it, the process is called ahead-of-time compilation. The lower level language that is the target of a compiler may itself be a high-level programming language. C, viewed by some as a sort of portable assembly language, is frequently the target language of such compilers.

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Translations of compiler

Trends in programming languages and development environments influenced compiler technology. More compilers became included in language distributions and as a component of an IDE . The advent of web services promoted growth of web languages and scripting languages. Scripts trace back to the early days of Command Line Interfaces where the user could enter commands to be executed by the system.

The compiler is unable to work out how much memory the class needs until it compiles the body of the class. It must reread the source code before generating the correct machine code. Similarly, C# uses a JIT compiler that is part of the Common Language Runtime, which manages the execution of all .NET applications. As long as the intermediate bytecode language conversion can be understood by the platform, the program runs.

In 1971, a new PDP-11 provided the resource to define extensions to B and rewrite the compiler. By 1973 the design of C language was essentially complete and the Unix kernel for a PDP-11 was rewritten in C. Steve Johnson started development of Portable C Compiler to support retargeting of C compilers to new machines. BCPL designed in 1966 by Martin Richards at the University of Cambridge was originally developed as a compiler writing tool. Several compilers have been implemented, Richards’ book provides insights to the language and its compiler.