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Table of contents
1.
What Is Machine Language?
1.1.
Example
2.
What Is Assembly Language?
3.
Machine Language vs. Assembly Language
4.
Frequently Asked Questions
4.1.
What is the difference between machine language and high-level language?
4.2.
What is an example of assembly language?
4.3.
What is the difference between machine language and low-level language?
4.4.
What is the difference between machine code and machine language?
4.5.
What is machine language also known as?
5.
Conclusion
Last Updated: Jun 4, 2024
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Difference Between Machine Language and Assembly Language

Author Apoorv Dixit
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Machine language and assembly language are low-level programming languages that interact closely with hardware. Machine language is the binary code that computers directly understand and execute, whereas assembly language is a human-readable representation of machine language. The main difference lies in their abstraction levels.

Difference between Machine Language and Assembly Language

What Is Machine Language?

Machine language is a low-level programming language represented by 0s and 1s. It is called low-level because it is at the lowest level of the computer language hierarchy and is directly understood by the computer. Earlier, while working with calculations or doing some other work on computer screens, only binary language( 0s and 1s) was used. It was tough to do calculations and all other work in machine code. For example, to represent the number 98, the binary value 1100010 is used. Though it is machine code and relatively easy to understand by machines, it was quite difficult for humans to do all the work. To overcome this problem, assembly language came into the picture.

Moreover, it need not be translated as the CPU can directly understand the binary code. 

A sequence of bits is used to give commands in machine languages. 

  • The 1s (one) represents the true or on states. 
  • On the other hand, the 0s (zero) represent the off or false states. 
  • In general, no human can remember the binary codes of machine languages. As a result, learning these languages is not possible.

Example

Suppose you have to write ‘Hello ninja’, the corresponding binary code will be:

01001000 01100101 01101100 01101100 01101111 00100000 01001110 01101001 01101110 01101010 01100001

Also see,  what is middleware

What Is Assembly Language?

Assembly language is more than low-level and less than high-level language. Hence, it is also referred to as intermediary language. It uses symbols and abbreviations instead of binary numbers 0s and 1s. For example, assembly language uses symbols often known as mnemonics like Add for addition, Sub for subtraction, Mul for multiplication, and so forth. 

Assembly language codes are more human-readable than machine languages ones. Unlike machine code, it is not very difficult for users to remember or understand assembly codes and commands. 

Since the assembly language code uses mnemonics which isn’t understandable by the CPU directly, it needs a translator to convert mnemonic codes(assembly language code) into machine language(machine or object or binary code). It is done with the help of a compiler known as assembler. Now let's see what this assembler is, and it's working in detail.

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Machine Language vs. Assembly Language

Now let’s see some head-to-head differences between machine language and assembly language.

ParameterMachine LanguageAssembly Language
Level of LanguageThe machine language is at the lowest level of programming languages and can directly interact with the computer hardware. All the instructions are directly executed by the CPU(Central Processing Unit).Assembly language is an intermediate language between high-level and low-level language. It needs an assembler to convert it into machine code to make it interactable with the computer system.
SyntaxA machine language consists of binary digits, 0s, and 1s.Assembly language uses mnemonics symbols and has a similar syntax to that of the English language, making it much more understandable for users.
Ease of ComprehensionOnly computers can understand machine languages. Humans will need too much time to decode it. Moreover, it's nearly impossible to decipher such big machine code for a person.These are very easy for any human to understand, memorize and use. But for machines, they are non-understandable.
Speed of ExecutionThe execution process is very fast in the case of machine language because they already contain data in binary form, which is directly interpreted by computer systems.The execution process is slower than machine language because code needs to be translated to machine code first.
TranslatorNo translator is needed because the code is already in the machine-understandable format.Translator(known as an assembler) is needed to convert assembly code to machine code.
DependencyMachine language is dependent on hardware.Assembly languages are machine-dependent and are not portable.
Language GenerationMachine languages are first-generation programming languages.Assembly languages are second-generation programming languages.
Risk or errors and DebuggingThere is a higher risk of errors in the case of machine languages, and it is hard to debug since they are non-understandable by humans.There is a lower risk of eros in the syntax of assembly languages. Moreover, they are easy to debug.
ModificationModification is not possible here because the whole code needs to be written from scratch for the specific type of CPU.Modification is easy here, code can be easily modified by understanding the written syntax.
ApplicationDVDs and CDs represent the application of binary form.Device drivers, low-level embedded, and real-time systems are some applications.

You can also read about Difference Between Compiler and Assembler here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between machine language and high-level language?

Machine language consists of binary code directly understood by the computer hardware, while high-level languages use human-readable syntax and require translation into machine code by a compiler or interpreter for execution.

What is an example of assembly language?

Assembly language, such as x86 assembly, is a low-level programming language that uses mnemonic instructions representing machine-level operations. It is more readable than machine language and directly corresponds to machine instructions.

What is the difference between machine language and low-level language?

Machine language refers to the raw binary code understood by the computer hardware, while low-level languages like assembly language provide human-readable mnemonics representing machine instructions, making programming closer to hardware.

What is the difference between machine code and machine language?

Machine code refers to the binary representation of instructions executed directly by the computer hardware, while machine language is the human-readable form of these instructions, often represented using mnemonics for easier understanding by programmers.

What is machine language also known as?

Machine language is also known as machine code or native code. It represents the lowest level of programming languages, consisting of binary instructions directly executed by the computer's CPU.

Conclusion

In this article, we have discussed the difference between Machine Language and Assembly Language. Understanding the difference between these two provides valuable insight into the layers of abstraction within computer programming. While machine language operates at the lowest level, consisting of binary instructions directly understandable by hardware, assembly language bridges the gap between machine language and high-level languages, offering more human-readable mnemonics. 

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You can also consider our Online Coding Courses such as the Machine Learning Course to give your career an edge over others.

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