can anyone tell me what makes C a universal language and ideal for a number of engineering solutions?
Part of an assignment would be ace if someone could give me a few pointers

Functions writtein in C language can be called by almost every other language. For example: most, if not all, the win32 api functions for MS-Windows operating system were written in C language and some assembly. Yet all these functions can be called by every other existing language such as Visual Basic, assembly, pascal, cobol, C#, fortran, etc.

why its ideal for engineering solutions -- I have no idea because I never took an engineering course.

>what makes C a universal language
C is old, ubiquitous, well understood, and many modern languages derive syntax and semantics from it.

>Old? What does that make ForTran???
Older. But old isn't the only measure of a universal language. JOSS is old, but I wouldn't say it's universal by any measure. ;)

C is good for engeneering for two very simple reasons:
1) the code is very, very light (not every computer has 4Gig of RAM => microcontroller (between 512Bytes and 4KB))
2) it can easily be ported to different CPU-architectures. Especially in engeneering most robots and machines their own CPU (think of the car-industry but also dish-washer and microwaves).
And it is relatively simple to write a c-compiler for one of these CPUs. That also makes you code portable.

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