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Execution (computing)

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In the realm of computing, the term “execution” refers to the process by which a computer[2] carries out instructions. This process begins with the creation of programs in source code, which is then compiled into an executable file. This file is loaded into the computer’s memory by the operating system and then run from its entry point until it either terminates normally or crashes. The execution process takes place in a specific context, often within multitasking operating systems, and utilizes resources such as run-time libraries. During execution, the computer follows the fetch-decode-execute cycle, and different programming languages manage potential errors in unique ways. Execution also involves a runtime system that provides an environment for the program to operate in and manages application memory and variable access. Some execution processes may involve interpreters, which execute programs directly without translation[1], or virtual machines, which emulate the functions of a physical computer.

Terms definitions
1. translation. Translation is a critical linguistic practice that involves converting text or speech from one language to another while maintaining the original meaning, style, and intent. Originating from Latin, its theories have evolved across centuries from ancient metaphrase and paraphrase concepts to modern computer-assisted methods. It plays a vital role in global communication, cultural exchange, and knowledge preservation. The practice has unique traditions and challenges across Western, Near East, and Asian regions. It requires high proficiency in languages and subject matter expertise, akin to the skills of a musician or actor in their respective fields. The field of translation has seen significant historical developments, from ancient civilizations to modern automation efforts, underscoring the importance of translators in society.
2. computer. A computer is a sophisticated device that manipulates data or information according to a set of instructions, known as programs. By design, computers can perform a wide range of tasks, from simple arithmetic calculations to complex data processing and analysis. They have evolved over the years, starting from primitive counting tools like abacus to modern digital machines. The heart of a computer is its central processing unit (CPU), which includes an arithmetic logic unit (ALU) for performing mathematical operations and registers for storing data. Computers also have memory units, like ROM and RAM, for storing information. Other components include input/output (I/O) devices that allow interaction with the machine and integrated circuits that enhance the computer's functionality. Key historical innovations, like the invention of the first programmable computer by Charles Babbage and the development of the first automatic electronic digital computer, the Atanasoff-Berry Computer (ABC), have greatly contributed to their evolution. Today, computers power the Internet, linking billions of users worldwide and have become an essential tool in almost every industry.

Execution in computer and software engineering is the process by which a computer or virtual machine interpret and acts on the instructions of a computer program. Each instruction of a program is a description of a particular action which must be carried out, in order for a specific problem to be solved. Execution involves repeatedly following a "fetch–decode–execute" cycle for each instruction done by control unit. As the executing machine follows the instructions, specific effects are produced in accordance with the semantics of those instructions.

Programs for a computer may be executed in a batch process without human interaction or a user may type commands in an interactive session of an interpreter. In this case, the "commands" are simply program instructions, whose execution is chained together.

The term run is used almost synonymously. A related meaning of both "to run" and "to execute" refers to the specific action of a user starting (or launching or invoking) a program, as in "Please run the application."

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