Language may refer either to the specifically human capacity for acquiring and using complex systems of communication, or to a specific instance of such a system of complex communication...
designed to communicate instructions to a machine
A machine manages power to accomplish a task, examples include, a mechanical system, a computing system, an electronic system, and a molecular machine. In common usage, the meaning is that of a device having parts that perform or assist in performing any type of work...
, particularly a computer
A computer is a programmable machine designed to sequentially and automatically carry out a sequence of arithmetic or logical operations. The particular sequence of operations can be changed readily, allowing the computer to solve more than one kind of problem...
. Programming languages can be used to create programs
A program is a list of instructions written in a programming language that is used to control the behavior of a machine, often a computer ....
that control the behavior of a machine and/or to express algorithm
In mathematics and computer science, an algorithm is an effective method expressed as a finite list of well-defined instructions for calculating a function. Algorithms are used for calculation, data processing, and automated reasoning...
The earliest programming languages predate the invention of the computer
History of computing hardware
The history of computing hardware is the record of the ongoing effort to make computer hardware faster, cheaper, and capable of storing more data....
, and were used to direct the behavior of machines such as Jacquard loom
The Jacquard loom is a mechanical loom, invented by Joseph Marie Jacquard in 1801, that simplifies the process of manufacturing textiles with complex patterns such as brocade, damask and matelasse. The loom is controlled by punched cards with punched holes, each row of which corresponds to one row...
s and player piano
A player piano is a self-playing piano, containing a pneumatic or electro-mechanical mechanism that operates the piano action via pre-programmed music perforated paper, or in rare instances, metallic rolls. The rise of the player piano grew with the rise of the mass-produced piano for the home in...
s. Thousands of different programming languages have been created, mainly in the computer field, with many more being created every year.