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The Zend Engine is an open-source scripting engine, commonly known for the important role it plays in the web automation language PHP. It was originally developed by Andi Gutmans and Zeev Suraski while they were students at the Technion - Israel Institute of Technology. They later founded a company called Zend Technologies in Ramat Gan, Israel. The name Zend is a portmanteau of their forenames, Zeev and Andi.
The first version of the Zend engine appeared in 1999 alongside PHP version 4. It was written as a highly optimized modular back-end, which for the first time could be used in applications outside of PHP. The performance, reliability and extensibility of the engine played a significant role in increasing the popularity of PHP.
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