Title image Fall 2018

Syllabus for Fall 2018

Topics and Suggested Readings

Learning Goals

  1. Students demonstrate an understanding of different language paradigms and implement algorithms in each paradigm.
  2. Students demonstrate an ability to independently learn programming languages.
  3. Students demonstrate an ability to describe the syntax, semantics and functionality of different languages in a common, rigorous manner.
  4. Students demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between language and design.
  5. Students work with partners to learn one or more languages and present them to the class.
  6. Students present algorithms, languages, and their characteristics in an organized and competently written manner.

Recommended Textbooks


Projects 45%
Homework 10%
Class Participation 5%
Bi-weekly Quizzes 20%
Final Exam 20%

Over half of your grade will consist of projects and homework. The project deadline will be Wednesdays. Homework will be due Fridays before class. We will have a quiz every other Friday.

Weekly Topics and Readings

  • Introduction, course concept, background
  • History of Programming Languages
T. & N. Chapter 1
  • Syntax
  • Grammars, Backus Naur Form
  • Concrete syntax
T. & N. Chapters 2-3
  • Abstract syntax
  • Names
  • Variables
T. & N. Chapters 2-4
  • Scope
  • Symbol tables and lifetime
  • Types
T. & N. Chapters 4-5
  • Basic types
  • Conversions
  • Pointers, arrays, and strings
T. & N. Chapters 5-6
  • Functions
  • Structures and Variants
  • Polymorphism
T. & N. Chapter 5-6
  • Exam I
  • Practical expression semantics
  • Program state and semantics
T. & N. Chapters 7-8
  • Assignment and expression semantics
  • Conditional and Loop semantics
  • Blocks and for loop semantics
T. & N. Chapter 7-8
  • I/O semantics
  • Exception semantics
  • Function semantics
T. & N. Chapter 7-9
  • Function optimization
  • Memory management
  • Concurrent programming
T. & N. Chapters 9-11
  • Synchronization
  • VHDL: explicitly parallel
  • Review
T. & N. Chapter 17
  • Exam II
  • VHDL
  • Functional programming
  • Presentations (logic)
T. & N. Chapter 12
  • Presentations (imperative/scripting)
T. & N. chapter 14


Attendance and Participation

For this course to be truly successful, your presence and participation are important. Asking questions in class is an important part of learning. When you have a question, ask it. It is highly probable that one of your classmates has the same question. When you have an opportunity to share your opinion or your answer, please speak up. Your professor wants to hear what you have to say. And, of course, to participate in class you must attend class. If you must miss a class, you are responsible for making up the material covered in that lecture. Missing or being late to class regularly with affect your participation grade.


Homework assignments must be turned in on time. No late short assignments will be accepted because we will refer to their solutions in class.

Projects submitted by the deadline will receive full credit. Late projects will not receive credit for any extensions, limiting the maximum grade.

You may take one extension on a project deadline and hand in the project on Saturday instead of Wednesday for full credit. You cannot request an extension for the project handed in prior to spring break or the final project. To use your extension, email the professor prior to the deadline for the project.

Collaboration and Academic Honesty

Computer science, both academically and professionally, is a collaborative discipline. In any collaboration, however, all parties are expected to make their own contributions and to generously credit the contributions of others. In our class, therefore, collaboration on homework and programming assignments is encouraged, but you as an individual are responsible for understanding all the material in the assignment and doing your own work. Always strive to do your best, give generous credit to others, start early, and seek help early from both your professors and classmates.

In addition to the ethical implications of dishonesty, you undermine your ability to learn when you cheat. Honesty, integrity, and personal responsibility are cornerstones of a Colby education and provide the foundation for scholarly inquiry, intellectual discourse, and an open and welcoming campus community. These values are articulated in the Colby Affirmation and are central to this course. Students are expected to demonstrate academic honesty in all aspects of this course.

The following rules are intended to help you get the most out of your education and to clarify the line between honest and dishonest work. We reserve the right to ask you to verbally explain the reasoning behind any answer or code that you turn in and to modify your project grade based on your answers. It is vitally important that you turn in work that is your own. We do use automated plagiarism detection software, so please be sure to abide by these, rather minimal, rules. Reports of academic dishonesty are handled by an academic review board and a finding of academic dishonesty may result in significant sanctions. For more details on Colby's Academic Integrity policies and procedures, see colby.edu/academicintegrity.

Sexual Misconduct/Title IX Statement

Colby College prohibits and will not tolerate sexual misconduct or gender-based discrimination of any kind. Colby is legally obligated to investigate sexual misconduct (including, but not limited to sexual assault and sexual harassment).

If you wish to speak confidentially about an incident of sexual misconduct, please contact Colby Counseling Services (207-859-4490) or the Director of the Gender and Sexual Diversity Program, Emily Schusterbauer (207-859-4093).

Students should be aware that faculty members are considered responsible employees; as such, if you disclose an incident of sexual misconduct to a faculty member, they have an obligation to report it to Colby's Title IX Coordinator. "Disclosure" may include communication in-person, via email/phone/text, or through class assignments.

To learn more about sexual misconduct or report an incident, visit http://www.colby.edu/sexualviolence/.