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AST

(1) (Abstract Syntax Tree) The original source code format of the low-level WebAssembly language for the Web. See WebAssembly.

(2) (AST Computer, Irvine, CA) A PC manufacturer founded in 1980 by Albert Wong, Safi Quershey and Tom Yuen (A, S and T). AST was initially known for its line of add-in PC memory boards (Rampage and SixPak Plus brands) but also offered a line of PCs sold through its dealer channel. In 1993, AST acquired Tandy Corporation's PC manufacturing facilities. In 1997, the parent company AST Research, Inc. was taken over by Samsung, which struggled to compete with Gateway, Dell and Compaq. In January 1999, Beny Alagem, co-founder of Packard Bell, purchased the AST name and intellectual property rights for a new venture. However, within a year, the once-illustrious brand ceased production altogether.



WebAssembly

An intermediate language format for Web pages from the W3C that can replace numerous JavaScript functions but can also interact with JavaScript. Introduced in 2015, WebAssembly (WA or WASM), which is written in C/C++, was designed for speed due primarily to downloading a smaller pre-compiled bytecode language rather than the original source code. Bytecode interpreters also generally execute faster than source code interpreters such as JavaScript, which have to parse long text statements before they can be executed.

Built Into Every Web Browser
WebAssembly provides operations at the machine level, which enables developers to do things that were never defined in the high-level JavaScript language. Just as a JavaScript interpreter has been part of every Web browser for more than 20 years, by the end of 2017, a WASM interpreter was included in the latest versions of Edge, Chrome, Firefox and Safari. See JavaScript, interpreter and bytecode.



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