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The part of a computer that makes up the software: Operating Systems, Languages, Language Translators, Software Generations and Application Software.

Operating Systems: An operating system, which is sometimes referred to as the OS, is the software responsible for controlling the allocation and usage of hardware resources, For example, the allocation of memory, controlling the central processing unit time allowed per task, controlling the amount of disk space used and finally, how the peripheral devices, such as printers, operate. The operating system is the basis on which all computer applications programs, such as word-processing and spreadsheet programs are produced.

There are many different operating systems available in the modern PC world. The system that you are most likely to encounter is one of the versions of the Windows operating system.

The operating systems have the following features:
• They are supplied by the manufacturer of the hardware or purchased as utility from a software company.
• They assist in running other programs.
• They serve as intermediaries between the hardware and application programs.
• They simplify the use of the software.
• They control the operations of the hardware. The operating systems as defined here include Language translators and utilities or service programs. The operating system is often called the resource manager or supervisor and the resources to be managed include:
• The processor
• The input/output devices
• The primary memory
• The secondary storage devices Apart from Windows cited above, examples of operating systems include MS-DOS, PC-DOS, UNIX, XENIX, NT, WINDOWS 95, 98, 2000

The hierarchies of the languages are as follows:

1. Machine Language

2. Low-level Language

3. High-level Language

- The machine language consists of series of binary numbers (digit consisting of zero (0) one (1) ) which is the languages the computer understands.

- Low-level languages is a machine-oriented language consisting of symbolic codes in which instructions correspond or resemble machine languages and it depends on the machine e.g. Assembly Language.

- A high level language is a problem-oriented language which is a restricted form of the natural languages. Such languages include BASIC (Beginners All Purpose SymbolicInstruction Code), FORTRAN (Formula Translator). COBOL (Common Business Oriented Language), ALGOL (Algorithmic Language), PL/1 (Programming Language 1), RPG (Report Program Generator), PASCAL, C etc.

Language Translators : A language translator translates high-level languages to the language of the computer. A language translator could be any of the following:

(i) Interpreter: An interpreter is a program which translates the sources program into machine language statement by statement. It translates a statement and executes before taking on the next statement.

(ii) Compiler: This is a program that translates the whole source program into machine code or language. It accepts the whole source program as input and produces the object program which is the translated version of the sources program as output before executing the program.

(iii) Assembler: This is a program that translates programs written in assembly languages into machine code. Source codes Compiler Object codes Low-level codes Assembly Object codes

(iv) Emulators: Emulators are special programs that permits the object program generated on one computer to be executed on an entirely different computer.

Software Generations
Software generations refer to the developmental stages of the programming languages. They are as follows:
(a) First Generation: This is the forerunner of all programming languages consisting of binary digits (0,1). This is the machine language. The generation is the late 40’s.
(b) Second Generation: This is the assembly language (low-level language) consisting of abbreviated word (pneumonics). The generation is early 50’s.
(c) Third Generation: This consists of the high level languages where programming is done in languages. The generation is the late 60’s.
(d) Fourth Generation: This is an application generation that automates the routines involved in programming and its features include: (i) Setting up data entry screens (ii) Creating files (iii) Querying data (iv) Report generation. Examples of fourth generation software are the data base packages (D base), spreadsheet and graphics packages.
(e) Fifth Generation: They are declarative languages where programmers state the problem and the languages sort out the solution. Such systems are called expert systems. Examples are Turbo PROLOG (Programming in Logic) and LISP (List Processing).

Application Software
As you learned earlier, computer software contains instructions that are processed and executed by a PC. Application software is the software that actually addresses user’s specific needs. In the business world of today, you will find four major application categories. These are:
• Word-processing
• Spreadsheets
• Presentations
• Databases
User software is also included in the application software. A user software is also included in the application software. A user software is a program developed by the user personally or by commissioned agents.

Such programs are directed towards solving the user’s specific. The scope of such programs varies from one user to the other.

Source/Further Readinghttp://www.nou.edu.ng/uploads/NOUN_OCL/pdf/SST/CIT%20101.pdf

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