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The problem of starting a system without the system already functioning seems equally impossible as "pulling oneself up by the bootstraps" as Baron Münchhausen according to stories could. However, solutions, accordingly called bootstrapping exist; they are processes whereby a complex system emerges by starting simply and, bit by bit, developing more complex capabilities on top of the simpler ones. Boostrapping occurs in several domains.

See booting on the computers.

Computer programming

Bootstrapping can also refer to the development of successively more complex programming environments. The simplest environment will be, perhaps, a very basic text editor (e.g. ed?) and an assembler. Using these tools, one can write a more complex text editor, and a simple compiler for a higher-level language. and so on, until one can have a graphical IDE and an extremely high-level programming language.

In linguistics

Syntactic bootstrapping is the idea that children use syntactic knowledge they have developed to help learn what words mean. semantics builds on top of syntax....

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  • origin of life(?)

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Thomas a Kempis

... translation (1502) was by William Atkinson and Margaret, mother of Henry VII., who did the fourth book. Translations appeared in Italian (Venice, 1488, Milan 1489), ...

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