Tufts University - Spring 2015
COMP 105 is a survey course in programming languages. To succeed in this field, you will combine code and math. The goal of the course is to give you intellectual tools that will help you use, evaluate, choose, and design programming languages. You will learn to ask questions about language safety and classification of errors, type systems, formal semantics, and abstraction mechanisms for both functions and data. COMP 105 provides an introduction to the study of programming languages as an intellectual discipline. The elements of this discipline include specifications based on abstract syntax, lambda calculus, type systems, and dynamic semantics. You must be comfortable with recursion and with basic mathematical ideas and notations for sets, functions, etc.
COMP 105 uses the case-study method to give you experience with languages that go beyond the simple imperative paradigm. Case studies will cover languages from the imperative, functional,and object-oriented families. Example languages may include Standard ML, Smalltalk, Scheme, and Prolog.
Case studies are reinforced by suitable programming exercises. COMP 105 assumes previous experience programming in imperative languages like C, C++, or Java. Good programming skills are essential, and we assume some knowledge of C. Plan to complete ten or twelve programming assignments over the course of the term. The more interesting or amusing assignments include Hindley-Milner type inference, arbitrary-precision arithmetic, and some game-playing programs.
COMP 105 is recommended for graduate students, especially those whose primary research interests lie in related fields such as compilers, software systems, or artificial intelligence. Graduate students whose primary interests lie in programming languages may find that COMP 105 overemphasizes programming practice and underemphasizes foundations.
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