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emulation The exact execution on a given computer of a program written for a different computer, accepting the identical data and producing the identical results. Emulation is thus the imitation of all or part of one computer system by another system. It may be achieved by software, microprogram, or hardware. A particular emulation could be used as a replacement for all or part of the system being emulated, and furthermore could be an improved version. For example, a new computer may emulate an obsolete one so that programs written for the old one will run without modification. See also simulation, compatibility.