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C (pronounced see) is a general-purpose computer programming language developed in 1972 by Dennis Ritchie at the Bell Telephone Laboratories for use with the Unix operating system.

Although C was designed for implementing system software, it is also widely used for developing portable application software.

C is one of the most popular programming languages of all time and there are very few computer architectures for which a C compiler does not exist. C has greatly influenced many other popular programming languages, most notably C++, which began as an extension to C.

Design

C is an imperative (procedural) systems implementation language. It was designed to be compiled using a relatively straightforward compiler, to provide low-level access to memory, to provide language constructs that map efficiently to machine instructions, and to require minimal run-time support. C was therefore useful for many applications that had formerly been coded in assembly language.

Despite its low-level capabilities, the language was designed to encourage cross-platform programming. A standards-compliant and portably written C program can be compiled for a very wide variety of computer platforms and operating systems with little or no change to its source code. The language has become available on a very wide range of platforms, from embedded microcontrollers to supercomputers.


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