Definitions Edit

A compiler is

[a] computer program that is used to change a high-level programming language into machine language. It is similar to an assembler.[1]
a computer program which translates statements in a programming language (written by a person) into the internal code of the computer. The results of such translation is what actually makes the computer perform the required tasks.[2]

Overview Edit

The compiler reads each high-level language instruction and replaces it with the appropriate sequence of machine language instructions. More sophisticated compilers then perform “optimization” — they may delete or rearrange machine language instructions in an effort to make the program execute more efficiently.

Source code versions of computer programs are typically compiled or translated into and sold as object code or machine language versions of those programs by the use of a compiler.[3]


  1. U.S. Copyright Office, Compendium of Copyright Office Practices II, §326 (1984) (full-text).
  2. Information Technology: Contracting for Computer Software Development - Serious Problems Require Management Attention To Avoid Wasting Additional Millions, at 3 n.2.
  3. United States v. Brown, 925 F.2d 1301, 1303 n.4, 17 U.S.P.Q.2d (BNA) 1929 (10th Cir. 1991) (full-text).

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