Welcome to the Treehouse Community

The Treehouse Community is a meeting place for developers, designers, and programmers of all backgrounds and skill levels to get support. Collaborate here on code errors or bugs that you need feedback on, or asking for an extra set of eyes on your latest project. Join thousands of Treehouse students and alumni in the community today. (Note: Only Treehouse students can comment or ask questions, but non-students are welcome to browse our conversations.)

Looking to learn something new?

Treehouse offers a seven day free trial for new students. Get access to thousands of hours of content and a supportive community. Start your free trial today.

Digital Literacy Computer Basics Computer Languages Fundamentals of Computer Languages

(Machine code) I am having a difficult time understanding the breakdown of machine code.

I am having a difficult time understanding the rate/process machine code works in?

1 Answer

Ken Alger
Ken Alger
Treehouse Teacher


This is a great question! Machine code is written in a language that the computer can understand and process quickly and efficiently. Higher level languages like Python, Ruby, JavaScript, Java, etc. must go through a "translation" process of some sort for the computer to actually understand that print("Hello World"), which is readable to us in Python, prints something to the screen. In machine code it would translate into something like:

b8    21 0a 00 00   #moving "!\n" into eax
a3    0c 10 00 06   #moving eax into first memory location
b8    6f 72 6c 64   #moving "orld" into eax
a3    08 10 00 06   #moving eax into next memory location
b8    6f 2c 20 57   #moving "o, W" into eax
a3    04 10 00 06   #moving eax into next memory location
b8    48 65 6c 6c   #moving "Hell" into eax
a3    00 10 00 06   #moving eax into next memory location
b9    00 10 00 06   #moving pointer to start of memory location into ecx
ba    10 00 00 00   #moving string size into edx
bb    01 00 00 00   #moving "stdout" number to ebx
b8    04 00 00 00   #moving "print out" syscall number to eax
cd    80            #calling the linux kernel to execute our print to stdout
b8    01 00 00 00   #moving "sys_exit" call number to eax
cd    80            #executing it via linux sys_call

Hardly as easy to read, write, and process as a human. :-)

That's it at a high level. Post back though if you have further questions.