Alan Freedman -- The Computer Language Company - Computer Desktop Encyclopedia
Computer Desktop Encyclopedia
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A CDE Definition

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Any electronic or electromechanical unit of equipment. A machine is always hardware; however, "engine" may refer to hardware or software. See engine.

The term can sound old fashioned or high-tech. For example, when an older generation is subjected to a new technology, a new device is often called a machine. In times past, even a microphone was called a machine. However, "machine language" is 21st century terminology, and "machine architecture," "machine tools" and other "machine" terminology is not at all antiquated.


(1) A specialized processor, such as a graphics processor. Like any engine, the faster it runs, the quicker the job gets done. See graphics engine and printer engine.

(2) Software that performs a very specific and repetitive function in contrast to an application that has many functions offered to the user. For example, a "search engine" or "database engine" responds to user queries over and over again. An "SMTP engine" forwards mail. A "dictionary engine" looks up words. A "rendering engine" forms the text and images that are displayed and printed. See search engine, database engine and rendering engine.

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MacBook Airmachine dependence
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MacDraw Promachine independence
Machmachine independent
Mach kernelmachine instruction

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