Students taking this course can expect to acquire the following:
an understanding of the major classes of high-level
programming languages, language features, and
programming styles, with an emphasis on applying
concepts from programming language theory;
formal methods of specifying the syntax and semantics of
and the knowledge needed to write parsers, interpreters, and
simple compilers for the major classes of programming
|Contacting the Course Staff
For email and Piazza: please allow about 24 or
so hours for a response, except on weekends (see
The staff do not work on the weekends. If you send
or post something late Friday or over the weekend then you
should not expect a reply before Monday.
Never ever EVER call any
staff at home.
There are three kinds of assignments in this course:
machine problems (MPs), machine labs (MLs) and web assignments (WAs). MPs
are submitted as text files with a name of mpX
where X is the number of the assignment, and
with an extension, usually .ml, approporiate to the code
type. MLs are done in the Computer-Based Testing
Facility (CBTF) and are done in much the same manner
as MPs. WAs are done in PrairieLearn, but not in the CBTF.
Each student is given an svn directory that needs to
be checked out once before it can be used for
submitting assignments as follows:
After the initial checkout, <working_directory>
will contain a subdirectory assignments. Once an
assignment has been announced, if you do an
you will add a directory named after the assignment
(e.g. mp1) in the assignments
directory. That directory will contain the information
posted on the web for that assignment.
When you retrieve an MP (or ML) via svn up the
directory added will contain a pdf
named mpX.pdf (or mlX.pdf)
describing the work to be done for the assignment, a file of a
name (typically mpX.ml) that is the same name
as the file you must submit, and infrastructure to help you
test your code. The file mpX.ml is just a
stub. You need to delete or comment out the stub code and add
your own. The
webpage mps contains
further information about how to test your code.
MPs, like WAs, will be turned in by entering your answer into text
window in PrairieLearn.
Before submitting an MP or ML assignment, you MUST make
sure that your MP or ML
compiles with the student grading script
supplied with the assignment.
If your MP or ML fails to compile with the student grading script,
your assignment will get NO CREDIT. There will be no partial
credit for assignments that fail to compile.
You may do multiple commits of either the MPs or the WAs.
Work submitted before the late deadline will not be subject to
the late penalty, but work submitted after will.
- Each MP/AW will normally have an automatic 48-hour
extension with a penalty on that MP/WA of 20% the total value of
the assignment. If we cannot give such an extension for a
particular MP/WA, for example due to scheduling constraints, we
will announce that when the MP/WA is handed out.
During the automatic extension, staff is not obliged to
answer questions for that MP/WA. You are on your own.
Extensions without a point penalty for the first 48 hours and any
extension beyond the 48 hours will only be granted under very
unusual circumstances such as a medical or family emergency.
A signed note from a responsible party will be required.
If you do need such an extension for some legitimate reason,
do your best to let us know as soon as possible, preferably before
the normal MP/WA deadline.
Our goal as the course staff is to grade your work carefully and
accurately. Unfortunately, occasionally staff may overlook something,
misunderstand an otherwise correct answer, or record a score incorrectly.
This is where the regrade procedure steps in.
In order to have your regrade considered you must provide the following:
You must also submit your regrade request for a particular assignment
within one week of receiving grades for that assignment. It
must be submitted directly to the course instructor, not to the
TAs. Late regrade requests will not be accepted or read.
- your netid;
- what assignment or exam question was graded incorrectly; and
- why you think your answer deserves more points than what the
Good reasons to ask for a regrade:
- You used a notation that was unfamiliar to the grader but is
standard (e.g., in a textbook for one of your other courses),
when no specific notation was prescribed in class.
- The grader recorded a score incorrectly.
- The problem was ambiguous (or just plain wrong), causing you to
interpret it differently than the grader.
- The grader marked the problem wrong incorrectly.
Bad reasons to ask for a regrade:
- Part of your answer "matched" the answer given in the solution.
A partially correct answer is still wrong.
"The difference between an
almost right word and a right word is the difference between a
lightning bug and lightning." -- Mark Twain
- You wrote down two or more answers, only one of which was correct.
Never put more than one answer for a question unless we tell you that
such a thing is legitimate.
- You expended a lot of effort answering the problem. We are
measuring mastery, not effort.
- You wrote something down.
You are allowed to collaborate on the machine problems (MPs) and
the web assignments (WAs) of this
course, in order to figure out how to solve the problem, resolve things
you don't understand, and help each other track down errors or bugs.
Nevertheless, you must each write and test your code
separately and submit your own solution.
Similarly, you must write up your own WA separately from others.
If your collaboration extended beyond understanding for what the
problem was asking, then you should note on your assignment with whom
you collaborated. As always, you are subject to
the rules for plagiarism. Whether you pass
this course or not will depend heavily on whether you pass the exams -- and
those are non-collaborative.
We allow you to collaborate for several reasons:
However, you have to collaborate intelligently in order to get the most
out of it. If you ask a friend to describe the solution completely to
you and then write it down (in your own phrasing), you will
get the credit but you'll fail the exam because you never learned the
If you copy a friend's solution directly or substantially, that
will be considered cheating, unless you give a clear cite of your
source. If you work as a group, each
writing part and sharing it with the others, that is also
considered cheating, unless your cite all members from whom you
copied. The penalties for being discovered
cheating are described in the next section, below. If you offer
your solution for others to copy, you should protect yourself
from being accused of cheating by reporting this as well. Then,
if some of those to whom you have lent your work fail to cite
you, you will be protected from cheating accusations (unless
they also claim they lent the same problem to you).
If you copy your solutions from friends or other sources, you
must cite your source.
- all research done indicates that students learn more when they are
allowed to work together;
- our own ability to respond to student questions is increased
because your peers are able to give help.
Think of MPs and web assignments as being part of the
practice for the exam. Many of the problems will be used as a
basis for the exam problems themselves. In fact, when it comes
time to study, we will likely advise you to redo your MPs and
|Policy on Cheating
We will be looking for cheating on both assignments and exams. The
penalty for being caught cheating a first time -- either sharing your
solution or copying anyone else's solution on an exam, or copying
anyone else's solution on an assignment without citation -- is
that you will receive a negative score for the unit cheated on
equal to the value of the unit. A assignment (MP or web
assignment) is one unit. A numbered problem on a test, including all
its parts, is a unit. The penalty if you are caught cheating a second
time is a grade of F for the class. You
should take all reasonable precautions to prevent others from cheating
and report any suspected cheating.
Our goal is to have grades back to you as soon as possible. In
practice, this will probably take about a week for each
assignment or exam. Whenever your assignment or exam is graded,
a note will be posted on the main course website, and the graded
assignment will be added to you assignment repository.
|Machine Problems, Web Assignments, and Machine Labs (combined)||20%
||Only for 4-unit graduate students
There is no required textbook for this course. However, the following textbooks are recommended reading: (see also the resources page)
The Objective Caml system, release 3.12
Documentation and user's manual by Xavier Leroy
(with Damien Doligez, Jacques Garrigue, Didier Rémy and Jérôme
Vouillon), from the official INRIA website for OCAML.
about OCaml from CalTech.
Compiler Implementation in ML by Andrew Appel.
Published by Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-60764-7
- Compilers: Principles, Techniques, and Tools,
also known as "The Dragon Book"; by Aho, Sethi, and Ullman.
Published by Addison-Wesley. ISBN: 0-201-10088-6.
- Essentials of
Programming Languages, 2nd Edition; by Friedman, Wand,
and Haynes. Published by MIT Press 2001. ISBN: 0-262-06217-8.
- Advanced Programming Language Design, by Raphael
A. Finkel. Addison Wesley Publishing Company, 1996.
- Programming Language Pragmatics, by Michael
L. Scott. Morgan Kaufman Publishers, 2000.
- Concepts, Techniques, and Models of Computer
Programming Peter Van Roy and Seif Haridi, MIT Press,
2004 ISBN 0-262-22069-5