CSCI.4430/6430 Programming Languages-- Spring 2015

Instructor:  Carlos Varela
Office:  Lally 308 (x 6912)
Office Hours:  Mondays and Thursdays, 3:00-3:50pm; or by appointment
Meeting Place:  Sage 3510
Meeting Hours:  Mondays and Thursdays 4:00-5:50pm
TAs: Linyun Fu, Antwane Mason
TAs' Office Hours: Home page
For questions about the course, please email:  proglang AT cs DOT rpi DOT edu, or use the discussion board on the LMS course site.


PA 1 description is now available at

PA 2 description is now available at

PA 3 description is now available at

Course Description

This course will enable students to understand essential aspects of programming languages --e.g., theoretical foundations, syntax, semantics, types, scope of variables, data abstraction, control abstraction, parameter passing and expression evaluation mechanisms.  Students will also be exposed to different programming paradigms (computation models) including logic programming, functional programming, and concurrent and distributed object-oriented programming. Students will write programming assignments in Prolog, Oz, and SALSA.


CSCI.2400 Models of Computation.

Course Themes

Programming Language Essentials. Logic, Functional, Concurrent Object-Oriented Programming Paradigms.

Learning Outcomes

When the students have successfully completed this course, they will be able to:

Course Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Logic Programming
  3. Functional and Imperative Programming
  4. Concurrent and Distributed Object-Oriented Programming

Tentative Course Syllabus

Date Topic Handouts Grade
01/26 Introduction to programming languages:  history, syntax, semantics, essentials, paradigms.
Logic programming: introduction, Horn clauses
Introduction, PLP Chapter 11 Part A
Logic programming:  predicate calculus--Programming Assignment 1 Due 02/18 PLP Chapter 11 Part B 20%
Snow cancellation
Prolog: resolution, unification, search, backtracking, cut, lists All PLP Chapter 11 Part C
Prolog: arithmetic, equalities, I/O, meta-interpreters, natural language parsing, difference lists All PLP Chapter 11 Part D
02/12 Declarative programming: accumulators, difference lists
All CTM Chapters 3.4.3---3.4.4 rainy.oz append.oz accumulators.oz dlists.oz
02/19 Lambda calculus:  alpha-renaming, beta conversion, applicative and normal evaluation orders, Church-Rosser theorem, combinators PDCS Chapter 2 Part A functions.oz
02/23 Higher order programming, Oz -- Programming Assignment 2 Due 03/11
All PDCS Chapter 2 Part B PA 2 combinators.oz eta.oz hop.oz lambda-booleans.oz lambda-numbers.oz rec.oz seq.oz 20%
02/26 Introduction to programming concepts: lists, pattern matching, correctness, complexity
All CTM Chapter 1.1-1.11 comb.oz lists.oz pascal.oz scope.oz
03/02 Declarative programming, grammars, syntax and semantics. All CTM Chapter 2.1 dataflow.oz gpascal.oz length.oz map.oz
03/05 Single-assignment store, kernel language syntax CTM Chapters 2.2 and 2.3 single-assignment.oz
03/09 Kernel language semantics: concepts, abstract machine CTM Chapters 2.4.1-2.4.2 foldr.oz scope2.oz kernel.oz
03/12 Kernel language semantics: non-suspendable, suspendable statements, closures CTM Chapters 2.4.3-2.4.5
03/16 Review for Exam I gen_numbers.oz
03/19 Exam I 20%
From kernel to practical language, exceptions CTM Chapters 2.6-2.7 pdf pptx
04/02 Exam I analysis
04/06 Memory management, tail-form optimization, garbage collection CTM Chapter 2.5 in pdf in ppt memleak.oz
04/09 Iterative computation, higher order programming, abstract data types
CTM Chapters 3.1-3.2,3.6-3.7 in pdf in ppt sqrt.oz stackADT.oz fold.oz
04/13 State, object-oriented programming, inheritance, polymorphism
All CTM Chapters 6.1-6.4,7.1-7.2 in pdf in ppt oop.oz
Actors:  a model of concurrent computation -- Programming Assignment 3 Due 05/01
PDCS Chapter 4A in pdf in ppt OOP Section 7.3.3 in pdf in ppt Programming Assignment #3 in pdf 20%
SALSA concurrency:  actor creation, asynchronous message passing, state encapsulation, token-passing continuations, named tokens, join blocks, first-class continuations All PDCS Chapter 9A in pdf in ppt HelloWorld.salsa Fibonacci.salsa TokenCellTester.salsa CellTester.salsa Cell.salsa Calculator.salsa
SALSA distribution and mobility:  universal naming, location-transparent communication, actor migration
PDCS Chapter 9 Part B in pdf in ppt
Concurrent and distributed programming patterns
PDCS Chapter 9 Part C in pdf in ppt Fibonacci.salsa
Declarative concurrency
CTM Chapter 4 in pdf in ppt dconcurrency.oz
Dynamic and static typing, parameter passing mechanisms, lazy evaluation CTM Chapters 2.8.3, 4.5, 6.1-6.4 in pdf in pptx lazy-eval.oz callbyneed.oz
Review for Exam II
Exam II 20%
Class Participation Extra-Credit 10%

Reading Material


Academic Integrity

The Rensselaer Handbook of Student Rights and Responsibilities defines several types of academic dishonesty, all of which are applicable to this class.  Students found in violation of academic dishonesty policies will receive a failing grade for this course.

Please contact the instructor if there is any question about academic (dis)honesty.

Last Updated -- January 26th, 2015.