An assembly language is a low-level programming language for computers, microprocessors, microcontrollers, and other programmable devices. It implements a symbolic representation of the machine codes and other constants needed to program a given CPU architecture. This representation is usually defined by the hardware manufacturer, and is based on mnemonics that symbolize processing steps (instructions), processor registers, memory locations, and other language features. An assembly language is thus specific to a certain physical (or virtual) computer architecture. This is in contrast to most high-level programming languages, which, ideally, are portable.
A utility program called an assembler is used to translate assembly language statements into the target computer’s machine code. The assembler performs a more or less isomorphic translation (a one-to-one mapping) from mnemonic statements into machine instructions and data. This is in contrast with high-level languages, in which a single statement generally results in many machine instructions.
Many sophisticated assemblers offer additional mechanisms to facilitate program development, control the assembly process, and aid debugging. In particular, most modern assemblers include a macro facility (described below), and are called macro assemblers.