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C++ (pronounced /ˌsiː plʌs ˈplʌs/ see plus plus) is a statically typed, free-form, multi-paradigm, compiled, general-purpose programming language. It is regarded as a "middle-level" language, as it comprises a combination of both high-level and low-level language features.[2] It was developed by Bjarne Stroustrup starting in 1979 at Bell Labs as an enhancement to the C language and originally named C with Classes. It was renamed C++ in 1983.[3]

As one of the most popular programming languages ever created,[4][5] C++ is widely used in the software industry. Some of its application domains include systems software, application software, device drivers, embedded software, high-performance server and client applications, and entertainment software such as video games. Several groups provide both free and proprietary C++ compiler software, including the GNU Project, Microsoft, Intel and Embarcadero Technologies. C++ has greatly influenced many other popular programming languages, most notably C# and Java.

C++ is also used for hardware design, where design is initially described in C++, then analyzed, architecturally constrained, and scheduled to create a register transfer level hardware description language via high-level synthesis.[citation needed]

The language began as enhancements to C, first adding classes, then virtual functions, operator overloading, multiple inheritance, templates, and exception handling among other features. After years of development, the C++ programming language standard was ratified in 1998 as ISO/IEC 14882:1998. That standard is still current, but is amended by the 2003 technical corrigendum, ISO/IEC 14882:2003. The next standard version (known informally as C++0x) is in development.

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