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I've always thought:

All possible abstraction removed = bare metal






On x86/64 only the CPU vendors go down to that level. Well them and security researchers.

Would you exclude compiler/assembler developers ? Are they not using the bare chip capabilities? Is assembly an abstraction ?

On micro-coded CPUs Assembly is indeed an abstraction, because that is not what the CPU is running, hence why many mainframe manuals refer to Assembly as bytecode.

On x86/x64, the chips have long migrated to an internal RISC like architecture, with an Assembly => micro-op translation step on the decoding unit.


> Is assembly an abstraction ?

Yes, assembly is an (mostly fairly thin, on non-microcoded hardware) abstraction over machine code.


Assembly is an abstraction, as the others have mentioned, but many compiler people are aware of this as it affects performance.



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