Programs, procedures, rules, and associated documentation associated with the operation of a data processing system. The computer needs to read, decode and execute the instructions in the software in order to make use of the intended application. Software programs are stored on archive or distribution media when not being used by the computer.

The instructions or programs created for a computer that take the place of switches, relays, and circuits that would be on a hardware device. Computers are capable of much more "intelligent" behavior than are mechanical devices, since hardware is fairly rigid in its behavior, whereas software may be developed to compare and evaluate situations and act accordingly.

Instructions that control the operations of a computer central processor.

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