Computers are electronic tools that assist people in their work. Every computer has a CPU, which contains a processor known as the computer’s heart that handles its arithmetic, logical, and control functions. In essence, each processor has its own architecture. Each set of processors has a unique set of instructions for carrying out the various operations. These directives are referred to as machine language directives. These machine language instructions, composed of strings of 1s and 0s, are the only ones a machine or processor can comprehend. However, using this machine language to write software development programming is very difficult.1
What Exactly is an Assembly Language?
As this Investopedia article defines it, “An assembly language is a type of low-level programming language that is intended to communicate directly with a computer’s hardware. Unlike machine language, which consists of binary and hexadecimal characters, assembly languages are designed to be readable by humans.”2
The Development of the Assembly Language
In the past, when the processor was designed first, software engineers were expected to write the program in machine language without any modifications. The only symbols used in this machine language are binary 0s and 1s. It was estimated that writing an additional program in this language would take 1–2 weeks. They had been expected to write in this machine language for so long.
Because it was so difficult to understand the hardware and write programs in the binary language at the time, few scientists were allowed to use this machine and write the programs. One of the greatest minds in the scientific world came up with a solution to fix this: assembly language development!1
Who Invented the Assembly Language?
While working on the ARC2 at Birkbeck in 1947, Kathleen Booth created or invented the first assembly language. After speaking with mathematician John von Neumann and physicist Herman Goldstine at the Institute for Advanced Study, she later received a chance to work as a research assistant at the University of London. After returning to the United Kingdom, Booth co-authored “General Considerations in the Design of Multi-purpose Electronic Digital Computer,” which details the changes made to the original ARC redesign to the ARC2. She accomplished this by utilizing von Neumann’s architecture. She contributed to creating the ARC assembly language used on the first computer.1
Assembly Language Today
Although still used in a few specialized applications, such as when performance requirements are exceptionally high, assembly languages are no longer frequently written directly.2
However, according to TIOBE’s most recent ranking, assembly language programming, which involves the direct manipulation of bytes and even bits, is growing in popularity. This development is reportedly driven by the Internet of Things (IoT). After an absence of an unknown duration, the TIOBE Index during recent years reported that assembly has reentered its list of the top 10 most popular programming languages. TIOBE stated that the proliferation of billions of small-footprint connected devices worldwide is most likely responsible for the rise in popularity.3
An assembly language is a crucial link between software applications and their hardware platforms.
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- Assembly Language – PiEmbSysTech. (n.d.). Retrieved July 31, 2022, from https://piembsystech.com/assembly-language/
- Assembly Language Definition. (n.d.). Retrieved July 31, 2022, from https://www.investopedia.com/terms/a/assembly-language.asp
- Assembly Language Gains in Popularity — ADTmag. (n.d.). Retrieved July 31, 2022, from https://adtmag.com/articles/2016/07/11/tiobe-assembly.aspx