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This command tells the processor to move (mov) the hexadecimal number 061h into the specific register named al. Other assembly language commands might tell the processor to add (add) or subtract (sub) a value from the number stored in a specific register. When you use assembly language, you have to tell the processor what data to store in which registers, how to manipulate the data in its registers, and when to remove data out of its registers. Sound tedious? It is. Although assembly language is far easier to understand and write than machine language, it’s still too complicated to use for creating really big computer programs, like word processors or video games. In the old days, most programs were written in assembly language, but as programs grew larger and more complicated, assembly language proved too cumbersome to write, edit, and modify.


The biggest problem with assembly language is that you need to manipulate the processor’s registers just to do the simplest tasks. If you wanted to add two numbers together, you’d have to tell the processor to store a number into a register, add a second number to the number in the register, and then yank the result out of the register.


Forcing people to know how to manipulate the processor’s registers before they can program a computer is like forcing people to know how their carburetor works before they can drive a car. Ideally, you don’t want to tell the processor how to manipulate data in its registers; you just want the processor to add two numbers without worrying about specific registers. So to make computer programming even easier, computer scientists have hidden the technical details of manipulating registers by creating high-level languages.