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AWK is a programming language typically used for text processing and data extraction. It allows for pattern scanning and processing of files, working with records and fields within the file structure. AWK’s syntax revolves around regular expressions to define patterns and actions that are executed when a line or record matches a given pattern. The name 'AWK' comes from its three original authors – Alfred Aho, Peter Weinberger, and Brian Kernighan – who first developed it at Bell Labs in the 1970s as part of the Unix shell environment's toolkit. The tool has been widely adopted due to its simplicity, speed in handling common scripting tasks compared to general-purpose languages like Python or Perl, as well as its built-in variables such as NF (number of fields), NR (number of records), FILENAME (current file being processed) which make it convenient for quick-and-dirty scripts on the command line or more complex programs with larger datasets using AWK scripts combined with Unix utilities like grep and find.

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