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Questions tagged [low-level]

Questions concerning low-level aspects of a system: programming close to the underlying details and hardware.

11
votes
2answers
441 views

How do you deal with comprehending abstraction in code?

When looking at a new codebase I like to start from a bottom-up approach. Where I comprehend one file and then move up to the next abstraction. But often times I find myself forgetting what the ...
5
votes
2answers
421 views

How can arithmetic, like a bit shift, avoid branching?

I'm learning to program the Game Boy Advanced (an old Nintendo console.) I was reading one of the best tutorials about it and it said this about how branching can be done with arithmetic. [To ...
0
votes
0answers
99 views

Is it possible for a rust programming language to develop an Operating system?

I just want to know . rust is said to be system programming language then, is it possible for rust programming language to develop an Operating system and all the necessary driver without using C or C+...
45
votes
6answers
14k views

Why do many functions that return structures in C, actually return pointers to structures?

What is the advantage of returning a pointer to a structure as opposed to returning the whole structure in the return statement of the function? I am talking about functions like fopen and other low ...
79
votes
7answers
14k views

Why are bit masks called “masks” and what purpose do they serve?

Why are "bit masks" called like this? I know that they are mainly used for bitwise operations and the usage of bit masks is more efficient than the usage of separate variables. However my question ...
10
votes
3answers
621 views

Why do compilers typically only generate executables for the platform they are installed on?

I'm a C++ developer and in an attempt to better understand cross-platform development, I'm trying to get a better understanding of some implementation details of compilers and how exactly they create ...
0
votes
2answers
227 views

Where to start when creating a programming language? [closed]

I'm actually a programmer on a few languages, but I realized I really didn't know much how the computer works on a deeper level. So I thought a good idea to discover and learn how does it work was to ...
1
vote
1answer
729 views

Is OpenGL just badly designed?

I have been using OpenGL and OpenGL ES for a long time, and I know them pretty well. They're also really, really annoying to use, and I haven't really seen this discussed anywhere. Here are some ...
4
votes
4answers
2k views

Learning languages: high-level first, or low-level first? [closed]

Whenever I learn about a high-level language I want to learn about, part of me says, "I should probably learn the lower-level language it's built upon to really master it". For example, Ruby => ...
11
votes
7answers
839 views

What principles are learned from C that can't be learned in higher level languages? [closed]

I believe C is a good language to learn the principles behind programming. What do you stand to learn in lower level languages that are "magicked" away from high level ones, such as Ruby?
4
votes
5answers
459 views

How are mixed, sizeless lists implemented in higher level languages?

Most higher level (or scripting) languages out there have data structures that can hold different types of data (like numbers, strings and even functions) in the same structure, and you can also add ...
0
votes
4answers
1k views

Why use a higher level language? [closed]

A question that gets asked a lot is "Why use low level languages if you can code in high level languages more easily (and often tersely)?". I think the answers are fairly straight forward here, being ...
8
votes
5answers
4k views

What does it mean to declare a volatile variable?

Many low level programs use the volatile keyword for types for memory mapping and such, however I'm sort of confused as to what it REALLY does in the background. In other words, what does it mean ...
57
votes
4answers
7k views

Development process used for the code on Apollo 11 missions?

The Apollo missions had technology no more complicated than a pocket calculator. From link here, there's an information about Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC) The on-board Apollo Guidance Computer (...
1
vote
1answer
23k views

Is C programming language low level or high level? [duplicate]

What do you think, is C programming language low or high level? There are some information, in one is said that C is low level, and another C is high level? When I read book of Dennis Ritchie and ...
8
votes
4answers
2k views

What are the key differences between low-level C development and higher level OOP development? [duplicate]

I have been using high-level OOP language (like C# and/or Java) for quite some time. I know patterns like the gang of four, can read and write code reasonably well and am considered a senior by his ...
2
votes
1answer
103 views

Does grouping threads by task improve performance?

This is kind of a lazy question on my part, since I gave up after trying only a few google terms. But when I read about multi-threaded performance, I read about context switching being bad for ...
3
votes
6answers
3k views

What are memory addresses? [closed]

I have more or less 0 knowledge in low-level topics, so forgive my possible ignorance. I know that in languages such as C, pointers hold 'memory addresses', i.e. strings (or binary data?) written in ...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

Is there any danger in writing raw bytes to a file? [closed]

I'm working through a problem in Programming Pearls -- specifically, the implementation of a program which sorts a file containing, at most, 10,000,000 integers (Column 1, Problem 3). Since the book ...
0
votes
1answer
175 views

Is my 'variable-storing area' basically a 'heap'?

I'm planning to implement a simple VM/interpreter kind of thing for a simple language I'm making. The compiler of the language emits mostly stack-oriented instructions to be executed by the VM. The ...
0
votes
1answer
551 views

How does a stack VM manage with only one stack?

Lately I've been asking a lot of questions here about VMs. Here's another one: I understand that often stack based VMs use only one stack - the call stack - for everything. E.g. it is also used for ...
6
votes
3answers
848 views

What would the register-machine bytecode for this code look like?

I hope this kind of question isn't off-topic on this site. I'm finally getting the hang of what a stack based machine is, and how to compile code for it. For example, the following code: 2 * 5 + 1 ...
3
votes
2answers
192 views

Do VMs use one stack for everything? [duplicate]

Most VMs have a "call stack" to keep track of where to return from each function that was called. This is often simply regarded as "the stack". However often a stack is needed for operations that ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

How do VMs implement function calling?

I'm reading a compiler textbook that compiles to some form of assembly. Since I don't know this assembly language I decided to invent my own simple "assembly language" and implement a basic "virtual ...
12
votes
3answers
9k views

Why do executables depend on the OS but not on the CPU?

If I write a C program and compile it to an .exe file, the .exe file contains raw machine instructions to the CPU. (I think). If so, how is it possible for me to run the compiled file on any computer ...
-1
votes
2answers
198 views

What interface does python use to implement sockets?

When I programmed in python, I believe I interfaced with the transport layer using sockets. If python was programmed by humans, they must have used an interface that was "lower" than sockets, to ...
15
votes
5answers
9k views

What is the absolute minimum set of instructions required to build a Turing complete processor

I have a general idea of how the processor handles instructions but spend my time working in mostly high level languages. Maybe somebody who works closer to the iron can provide some valuable insight. ...
-1
votes
2answers
554 views

Difference between a pointer and a reference? [duplicate]

In Java and other high-level languages, a reference leads to an object. In C++, as far as I know, a pointer can also lead to an object. So what's the difference between a reference leading to an ...
1
vote
1answer
670 views

Next power of 2 for a number (in search for better “bit-twiddling” way)

I just wonder if there exists better (i.e. faster?) way to get the next power of 2 for a given number than the following one (maybe some better sort of "bit-twiddling" hack is possible?) ... static ...
1
vote
3answers
2k views

Question about moving to embedded systems [closed]

I currently work as a .net developer and have coming up to 3 years experience in the industry as well as a degree in computer science specifically software engineering (I know that means nothing but ...
44
votes
10answers
11k views

Why not have a High Level Language based OS? Are Low Level Languages more efficient?

Without being presumptuous, I would like you to consider the possibility of this. Most OS today are based on pretty low level languages (mainly C/C++) Even the new ones such as Android uses JNI & ...
15
votes
4answers
4k views

Why do some programmers categorize C, Python, C++ differently? - regarding level

I am taking an introductory course on python and the instructor says that python is a high level language and C and C++ are low level languages. It's just confusing. I thought that C, C++, Python, ...
3
votes
1answer
304 views

Books/sources on inner workings of JavaScript [duplicate]

When I started studying C++ a couple of years ago, a lot of the books and texts I read did a very thorough job of explaining, how the code written would translate into concrete operations in the ...
9
votes
4answers
3k views

Memory management for fast message passing between threads in C++

Suppose there are two threads, which communicate by asynchronously sending data messages to each other. Each thread has some kind of message queue. My question is very low level: What can be expected ...
11
votes
3answers
20k views

How would one go about reading memory from a process? Is it different by OS?

As an experienced web-developer, but a novice "low level" programmer, this stuff is sort of voodoo to me still. I'm curious about how one would even begin to go about finding a memory block, and then ...
8
votes
4answers
7k views

A good interpreted language for a small embedded project [closed]

I have an mbed microcontroller which has a small ARM Cortex M3 on it. Basically, my effective resources for the project are ~25 KB of RAM and ~400 KB of Flash. For I/O I'll have a PS/2 ...
62
votes
11answers
7k views

Why are cryptic short identifiers still so common in low-level programming?

There used to be very good reasons for keeping instruction / register names short. Those reasons no longer apply, but short cryptic names are still very common in low-level programming. Why is this? ...
15
votes
8answers
4k views

Reverse engineering: what is it really good for? [closed]

I have some innocent/beginner questions: What is reverse engineering good for? As a programmer, should I learn the art of reverse engineering? What are the benefits to a programmer who is ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

How to start embedded development for developing a handheld game console? [closed]

I work as a iPhone app developer now, so I know a bit of c, c++ and objective c. Also have fiddled with Java and many other. All of them have been just high level application/games development. My ...
1
vote
5answers
1k views

What kinds of low level knowledge matter? [closed]

I realize that this question is similar to Low level programming - what's in it for me, but the answers didn't really address my question well. Part from just an understanding, how exactly does your ...
13
votes
7answers
45k views

What Are Some Advantages/Disadvantages of Using C over Assembly? [closed]

I'm currently studying engineering in Telecommunications and Electronics and we have migrated from assembler to C in microprocessor programming. I have doubts that this is a good idea. What are some ...
5
votes
4answers
4k views

Is it possible to automatically convert code from a low level language to a high level language?

I have seen several applications that claim to convert Java code to valid C or even C++. Converting from a high level language to a low level language is possible, no doubt about it. At least in ...
24
votes
9answers
2k views

What are the complexities of memory-unmanaged programming?

Or in other words, what specific problems did automated garbage collection solve? I've never done low-level programming, so I don't know how complicated can freeing resources get. The kind of bugs ...
41
votes
10answers
20k views

Were the first assemblers written in machine code?

I am reading the book The Elements of Computing Systems: Building a Modern Computer from First Principles, which contains projects encompassing the build of a computer from boolean gates all the way ...
0
votes
2answers
3k views

Are there any languages that have both high- and low-level facilities? [closed]

Are there any languages that have both high- and low-level facilities? If not, is it feasible to create one? Why or why not? In theory, it would be very helpful to have a programming language that ...
-1
votes
1answer
492 views

Is there any example or resource explaining/showing code from High-level to Low-level to deep down Machine code? [closed]

I have been searching for an example over the internet that shows any operation like saving a file or drawing anything in UI or any other sort that shows the implementation from High-leve language ...
3
votes
2answers
513 views

Functional Low-Level language that can use a webkit view [closed]

TL;DR: I need to develop an app which should look kind of the same on desktop and as a website incarnation. Since I am a web dev and have never developed for desktop, I want to use a language that ...
33
votes
13answers
3k views

How good does a well-rounded programmer need to be with bit-wise operations? [closed]

I have been browsing some OpenJDK code recently and have found some intriguing pieces of code there that has to do with bit-wise operations. I even asked a question about it on StackOverflow. ...
12
votes
4answers
1k views

What are the algorithms behind low pause GC?

Some languages, for exemple java, introduced a low pause GC. Those GC can do most of the work without pausing the whole world. This is obviously a quite hard problem because it require to analyze the ...
18
votes
10answers
5k views

As a programmer, should I know low and high-level programming languages? [closed]

I been contacted to do some work remote controlling LEDs displays over TCP/IP, but my experience and preparation is mostly about high-level programming language. I said that to the person who contact ...