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 ?
In Birmingham, it risks undoing all the great strides that have been made to pull up its image by the boot-straps.
It is a bit of a boot-straps situation," says Zimmer.
Dowie hauled Palace up by the boot-straps and into the Premiership via the play-offs after taking over in December with the club in the bottom four of the then First Division.