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Corewar is a game for skillful programmers in which two (or more) programs compete for control of a virtual machine.
The above description, though not very informative, reflects
perfectly the general idea of corewar. To provide you with a better
introduction to corewar, let's start from a virtual core, an
unprotected memory of, say, 8000 bytes. Before battle, a virtual
processor loads two (or more) programs (AKA warriors) written in assembly-like
language. The battle begins - programs are executed in a sequence:
program A, program B, program A, . The battle ends when all
processes of one of programs are killed i.e. they executed the
unexecutable (sic!) instruction
OK, this is not the most comprehensive introductionary text to corewar. You can find many gazillion times better intro pages in the web. Among those that should be listed here, you can't miss Philip Kendall's Getting started in Core War and Ilmari's guide to redcode. These will give you some insight and are good places to start from.
Now, knowing what corewar actually is you may want to go beyond the very basics and check out following sections of my page: