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What is the Definition of Computer Software?


The term "software" is not a recently conceived of word. In his 1935 essay, 'Computable Numbers with an Application to the Entscheidungs Problem,' Alan Turing first proposed and provided the foundation for most modern software. In 1958, the first use of the term software was used by John W. Tukey in an article in American Mathematical Monthly.

Today, the the term 'computer software' means written programs, rules, or codes, along with related documentation regarding the operation of a computer system that is stored in read/write memory. The "soft" part of software refers to the many products and technologies developed using different methods such as programming languages and scripting languages. The term 'software' is broader and can include different types of devices such as the operation systems of modern consumer devices such as automobiles, televisions, toasters, etc.

Computer software is the job descriptions of what a computer can perform. It cannot be physically touched. For instance, most computers come with software already installed. Software is also available on CD where the user inserts the disk into the hard drive and follows the installation instructions. As well, downloadable software is available on internet sites such as Microsoft. Computer software is basically a series of instructions that tells a computer how to do a particular job. For example, Microsoft Word is an example of computer software. As well, web page technologies such as HTML, PHP, ASP.NET, and XML are examples of computer software.

Computer software can be divided into two main categories: operating system software and application software.

Operating System (0/S): This system consists of the basic functions that computers perform. An example would be showing movement on a screen such as a mouse cursor was the user moves the mouse. Examples of operating systems include: windows vista, windows xp, Mac, Linux and Unix.

Application Software: These are applications that allow the computer to perform the job. Application software is used to accomplish precise tasks other than just running the computer system. This can include voice, play or record music, view videos, play video games--etc. Other examples of application software include permitting access to the internet and printing documents. Application software is the software that indirectly interacts with the computer.

System Software is the software that can directly interact with computer hardware. Examples include motherboard, CPU, keyboard, Mouse, printer--etc. System software is responsible for controlling, integrating, and managing the individual hardware components of a computer system.

Computer software is composed of machine language which is essentially groups of binary code giving processor instructions that are specific to an individual processor. It is normally written in high-level programming languages and then interpreted into machine language code. Software can also be written in assembly language which is a mnemonic representation of a machine language using a natural language alphabet.

The term computer software evolved from computational theories and formulas from pioneers in mathematics. It is easy to see how quickly technology evolved to the amazing and complex computations we see today.

 


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