Compile is the process of creating an executable program from code written in a compiled programming language. Compiling allows the computer to run and understand the program without the need of the programming software used to create it. When a program is compiled it is often compiled for a specific platform (e.g. IBM platform) that works with IBM compatible computers, but not other platforms (e.g. Apple platform).
The first compiler was developed by Grace Hopper while working on the Harvard Mark I computer. Today, most high-level languages will include their own compiler or have toolkits available that can be used to compile the program. A good example of a compiler used with Java is Eclipse and an example of a compiler used with C and C++ is the gcc command. Depending on how big the program is it should take a few seconds or minutes to compile and if no errors are encountered while being compiled an executable file is created.