abstract machine

Computing Dictionary

abstract machine definition


1. A processor design which is not intended to be implemented as hardware, but which is the notional executor of a particular intermediate language (abstract machine language) used in a compiler or interpreter. An abstract machine has an instruction set, a register set and a model of memory. It may provide instructions which are closer to the language being compiled than any physical computer or it may be used to make the language implementation easier to port to other platforms.
A virtual machine is an abstract machine for which an interpreter exists.
Examples: ABC, Abstract Machine Notation, ALF, CAML, F-code, FP/M, Hermes, LOWL, Christmas, SDL, S-K reduction machine, SECD, Tbl, Tcode, TL0, WAM.
2. A procedure for executing a set of instructions in some formal language, possibly also taking in input data and producing output. Such abstract machines are not intended to be constructed as hardware but are used in thought experiments about computability.
Examples: Finite State Machine, Turing Machine.
(1995-03-13)
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010 http://foldoc.org
Cite This Source
Explore Dictionary.com
Previous Definition: abstract language
Next Definition: abstract machine notation
Words Near: abstract machine
More from Thesaurus.com
Synonyms and Antonyms for abstract machine
More from Reference.com
Search for articles containing abstract machine
Dictionary.com Word FAQs

Dictionary.com presents 366 FAQs, incorporating some of the frequently asked questions from the past with newer queries.

Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature