CSC 533: Programming Languages
Spring 2012

11:00-12:15 TuTh
207 Hitchcock
Dr. David Reed
203D Hitchcock      x2583

Text: Concepts of Programming Languages (9th ed.), Sebesta, Addison-Wesley, 2010.

Course Description

This course is concerned with the concepts and practice of programming languages. The first part of the course will focus on general programming language concepts such as binding, type checking, and memory management. The implementation of these concepts in different languages will be examined, with special attention paid to Java and C/C++. The second part of the course will focus on different programming paradigms: procedural, object-oriented, and functional programming. Java, C++, and JavaScript will be studied as hybrid languages, combining both procedural and object-oriented features with varying design goals. Scheme will be studied as an example of a completely different programming paradigm, one which focuses on functional composition as opposed to state transformation or object interaction. In addition, groups of 2-3 students will each research and present an overview of a modern scripting language (e.g., php, ruby, lua).

The specific goals of this course are:

Required Work

There will be approximately six homework assignments, most of which will involve programming. Assignments will be submitted electronically via the class BlueLine site and will be due at midnight on the date specified. Late assignments will receive 75% of full credit if they are handed in within one week of the specified due date. After one week, no credit will be given. The group project will involve researching a modern scripting language and giving a 30-minute presentation on that language to the class. In addition, there will be weekly quizzes (with the lowest quiz grade dropped), a midterm exam and a cumulative final exam. Grades will be determined as follows:

homework assignments 35 %
group project/presentation 10 %
weekly quizzes 05 %
midterm exam 20 %
(cumulative) final exam 30 %

At the minimum, traditional grading cutoffs will apply. That is, 90% is guaranteed an A, 87% is guaranteed a B+, etc. Depending on class performance, some shifting of grades (in an upward direction may occur as final letter grades are assigned.

Regular attendance is expected of all students. If you must miss class for a legitimate reason, it is your responsibility to make up missed work. Quizzes and Assignments will not be rescheduled except in extreme circumstances. It is expected that all students check their Creighton email accounts regularly. Official announcements, such as assignment revisions or class cancellations, will be distributed through Creighton email.

Policy on Collaboration

Creighton's policy on cheating and plagiarism is spelled out in the the Student Handbook, with college procedures available online at In addition to this, the following guidelines hold pertaining to programs. Programs are to be the sole work of the student -- collaboration on the design or coding of a program is not allowed. Questions regarding homework assignments should be directed at the instructor only. Students may seek debugging assistance or clarifications on assignments via the class mailing list (accessible via BlueLine). Repeat: All student interactions regarding homework assignments must take place via email to the entire class!

Violations of this policy will be dealt with severely, with possible outcomes including failure in the course. In the case of programming assignments, you are encouraged to start early so that there is time to seek help from the instructor as the need arises.

Tentative Schedule

Jan 12 Introduction, overview. (ppt/pdf) Ch 1  
Background & syntax: (ppt/pdf)
   history, paradigms, BNF, EBNF.
Ch 2, 3
HW1: due 1/24
Variables & bindings: (ppt/pdf)
   static vs. dynamic, stack vs. heap,
Ch 5
HW2: due 1/31
Feb 2
   variable scope, implementing scope.
Data types: (ppt/pdf)
Ch 6-7
   primitives, pointers, memory management,
   SILLY interpreter (part 1),
HW3: due 2/23
   garbage collection, complex data types.
Control & subprograms: (ppt/pdf)
Ch 8-10

   control, parameters, run-time stack,
   SILLY interpreter (part 2).
HW4: due 3/19
Mar 1
work day
midterm & HW review
Language evolution: (ppt/pdf)
Ch 11-12
   ??? --> C --> C++
   C++ --> Java --> JavaScript
checkpoint 1
Functional programming: (ppt/pdf)
   Scheme, atoms & lists, conditionals,
Ch 15
R5Rs Reference
PLT Reference
HW5: due 4/9
Apr 3
   map/apply, tail vs. full recursion.
work day
checkpoint 2
Scheme structures: (ppt/pdf)
   association lists, assoc, trees,
checkpoint 3
   I/O, OOP in Scheme.
Presentations: JavaScript, Dart
HW6: due 4/27
Presentations: Perl, Python, Ruby
Presentation: Lua; course overview
May 1
FINAL EXAM     (Tuesday, 1:00 - 2:40)

Sample code from the lectures

In the event of disruption of normal classroom activities due to a flu outbreak or other emergency, the format for this course may be modified to enable completion of the course. In that event, you will be provided an addendum to this syllabus that will supersede this version.