Software engineers—and, by extension, anyone who uses the software they create (that is, nearly everyone)—rely critically on compilers. These ubiquitous tools, familiar even to the most novice programmer, translate high-level ideas, expressed as code, into the low-level instructions understood by computer hardware.
Using compilers is so commonplace and transparent that most of us soon forget about the near-miracles of code analysis and optimization they perform at a keystroke. Today's compilers produce marvelously tuned and optimized code that almost always performs better than what could be achieved painstakingly by hand.
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