Headline

An executable software artifact that solves a certain problem

Description

According to a classic definition, a program is (Document:Principles of information systems) "a sequence of instructions written to perform a specified task with a computer". This style of definition is possibly too much focused on an imperative view of programming.

More intuitively, more inclusively, and shorter: a program is an executable software artifact that solves a certain problem (that is amenable to automation on a computer). For instance, a program may solve an algorithmic problem.

A program may count as a "small" software system or an (executable) software component. A "proper" software system or component typically comprises of multiple software artifacts that may be elements of different software languages, may or may not be elements of programming languages, may reside at different levels of abstraction, and may interact in various ways.

Strictly speaking, a program, as far as this term is used in practice, may very well also break down into multiple software artifacts because of, for example, modular programming. Thus, the line between programs and software systems or (executable) software components is somewhat blurred.

Illustration

See the Hello world program for a very simple program.

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