18 Chapter 1 The Big Picture Assembly language Machine language Figure 1.7 Layers of languages at the end of the first generation First-Generation Software (1951–1959) The first programs were written using machine language, the instructions built into the electrical circuitry of a particular computer. Even the small task of adding two numbers together used three instructions written in binary (1s and 0s), and the programmer had to remember which combination of binary digits means what. Programmers using machine language had to be very good with numbers and very detail-oriented. It’s not surprising that the first programmers were mathematicians and engineers. Nevertheless, program-ming in machine language is both time-consuming and prone to errors. Because writing in machine code is so tedious, some programmers took the time to develop tools to help with the programming process. Thus the first artificial programming languages were developed. These languages, called assembly languages
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