bootstrap

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bootstrap

[′büt‚strap]
(computer science)
The procedures for making a computer or a program function through its own actions.
(engineering)
A technique or device designed to bring itself into a desired state by means of its own action.

bootstrap

(operating system, compiler)
To load and initialise the operating system on a computer. Normally abbreviated to "boot". From the curious expression "to pull oneself up by one's bootstraps", one of the legendary feats of Baron von Munchhausen. The bootstrap loader is the program that runs on the computer before any (normal) program can run. Derived terms include reboot, cold boot, warm boot, soft boot and hard boot.

The term also applies to the use of a compiler to compile itself. The usual process is to write an interpreter for a language, L, in some other existing language. The compiler is then written in L and the interpreter is used to run it. This produces an executable for compiling programs in L from the source of the compiler in L. This technique is often used to verify the correctness of a compiler. It was first used in the LISP community.

See also My Favourite Toy Language.
References in periodicals archive ?
He says that unless Welsh workers are dragged up by their boot-straps, Wales will continue to slip behind the best in Europe.
AS SOMEONE who picked up an ailing Newport by it's boot-straps and transformed it into one of the most successful rugby clubs in Europe, Tony Brown knows exactly how his Bridgend counterpart Leighton Samuel is feeling.
Jaguar has pulled itself up by the boot-straps and now makes fine British cars.