Systems programs are those that control the operation of the computer. Chief among these is the operating system—also called the control program, executive, or supervisor—which schedules the execution of other programs, allocates system resources, and controls input and output operations. Processing programs are those whose execution is controlled by the operating system. Language translators decode source programs, written in a programming language, and produce object programs, which are in machine language and can be understood by the computer. These include assemblers, which translate symbolic languages that have a one-to-one relationship with machine language; compilers, which translate an algorithmic- or procedural-language program into a machine-language program to be executed at a later time; and interpreters, which translate source-language statements into object-language statements for immediate execution. Other processing programs are service or utility programs, such as those that
dump computer memory to external storage for safekeeping and those that enable the programmer to
trace program execution, and application programs, which perform business and scientific functions, such as payroll processing, accounts payable and receivable posting, word processing, and simulation of environmental conditions.
See F. Maddix and G. Morgan, Systems Software: An Introduction to Language Processors and Operating Systems (1989).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2023, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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