CSCI.4430/6430 Programming Languages-- Fall 2015

Instructor:  Carlos Varela
Office:  Lally 308 (x 6912)
Office Hours:  Tuesdays and Fridays, 1:00-1:50pm; or by appointment
Meeting Place:  Darrin 324
Meeting Hours:  Tuesdays and Fridays 2:00-3:50pm
TAs: Linyun Fu, Antwane Mason
TAs' Office: Amos Eaton 217
TAs' Office Hours: Home page
For questions about the course, please email:  proglang AT cs DOT rpi DOT edu.
LMS Home page:
Use LMS to submit assignments, check grades, and post questions in the discussion forums.


Programming Assignment #1 is available, see the description.
Programming Assignment #2 is available, see the description.
Programming Assignment #3 is available, see the description.

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, and expression evaluation mechanisms.  Students will also be exposed to different programming paradigms (computation models) including functional programming, concurrent programming, and logic programming. Students will write programming assignments in Oz, Haskell, SALSA, Erlang and/or Prolog.


CSCI.2300 Introduction to Algorithms.

Course Themes

Programming Language Essentials. Functional, Concurrent, and Logic Programming Paradigms.

Learning Outcomes

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

Course Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Functional Programming
  3. Concurrent Programming
  4. Logic Programming

Tentative Course Syllabus

Date Topic Handout Book Chapters
09/01 Introduction to programming languages:  history, essentials, syntax, semantics, paradigms. ppt pdf functions.oz functions.hs PDCS Chapter 2
09/04 Lambda calculus:  alpha-renaming, beta-reduction, applicative and normal evaluation orders, Church-Rosser theorem, combinators ppt pdf combinators.oz eta.oz combinators.hs eta.hs PDCS Chapter 2
09/08 Lambda calculus: higher order programming, eta-conversion, recursion combinator, numbers, booleans
all ppt pdf rec.oz lambda-numbers.oz lambda-numbers.hs lambda-booleans.oz lambda-booleans.hs hop.oz hop.hs PDCS Chapter 2
09/11 Functional programming: lists, records, pattern matching, recursion (Haskell, Oz)-- Programming Assignment 1 Due 09/24
PA1 description PA1 description in pdf
all 2015/09/11 handouts ppt pdf pascal.oz pascal.hs lists.oz lists.hs comb.oz comb.hs
CTM Chapters 1.1-1.7, 3.2, 3.4.1-3.4.2
09/15 Higher order programming: closures, procedural abstraction, genericity, instantiation, embedding. ppt pdf sqrt.oz sqrt.hs CTM Chapters 3.2 and 3.6.1
09/18 Control abstractions: map, reduce, iterate, fold, filter ppt pdf explicit-lazy.oz mapreduce.oz iscombinator.oz iscombinator.hs mapreduce.hs CTM Chapters 1.9, 3.6 and 4.7
09/22 Lazy evaluation, set comprehensions ppt pdf lazy-eval.oz lazy-eval.hs CTM Chapters 1.8 and 4.5
09/25 Type checking and type inference, abstract data types, monads all pptx pdf type-limitations.hs stackADT.oz stack.hs list-monad.hs count-monad.hs CTM Chapters 2.8.3 and 3.7, EPL Chapter 4, GIH Chapter 9
09/29 Review for Exam 1 ppt pdf
Exam 1
10/06 Actors:  a model of concurrent computation ppt pdf PDCS Chapter 4
10/09 Actor programming languages (SALSA, Erlang) ppt pdf Cell.salsa CellTester.salsa cell.erl cellTester.erl PDCS Chapter 9, CPE Chapter 5
10/16 Concurrency control abstractions -- Programming Assignment 2 Due 10/29 All ppt pdf fibonacci/Fib.salsa fibonacci/FibonacciTester.salsa fibonacci/JoinCont.salsa fibonacci.erl treeprod/ treeprod/TreeProduct.salsa treeprod/TreeProductTester.salsa treeprod/JoinCont.salsa treeprod.erl PDCS Chapter 9, CPE Chapter 5
10/20 Distributed systems abstractions All ppt pdf dcell/Cell.salsa dcell/CellTester.salsa dcell/GetCellValue.salsa dcell.erl dcellClient.erl dcellTester.erl addressbook/AddressBook.salsa addressbook/GetName.salsa addressbook/GetEmail.salsa addressbook/AddUser.salsa addressbook/MigrateBook.salsa addressbook_client.erl addressbook.erl PDCS Chapter 9, CPE Chapter 6
Mobility (SALSA) and fault-tolerance (Erlang) abstractions; garbage collection, visualization (SALSA), hot code loading (Erlang) All pptx pdf migrate/Migrate.salsa dcell/MovingCellTester.salsa addressbook/MigrateBook.salsa addressbook_exception.erl PDCS Chapter 9, CPE Chapter 7
10/27 Object-oriented programming: inheritance, polymorphism (Oz, Java) All ppt pdf oop.oz mm/ dd/ dd/ dd/ CTM Chapter 6.1--6.4 and 7.1--7.2
Declarative concurrency: dataflow variables, suspendable statements (Oz) pdf ppt dconcurrency.oz CTM Chapters 1.10-1.16, 4.1-4.4, 4.6
11/03 Review for Exam 2
Exam 2
11/10 Predicate calculus, first-order logic, Horn clauses, Clocksin-Mellish procedure. ppt pdf PLP Chapter 11, CTM Chapter 9.3.1
Terms, Resolution, Unification, Search, Backtracking (Prolog); Relational Computation Model (Oz) ppt pdf rainy.oz PLP Chapter 11 and CTM Chapter 9.1
Prolog Imperative Control Flow: cut(!), call, fail, not, repeat, findall. Closed-world assumption, generate-and-test. Lists, Append relation (Prolog, Oz). -- Programming Assignment 3 Due 12/03 All ppt pdf PA3 family.oz append.oz PLP Chapter 11, CTM Chapter 9.3.2--9.3.4
Constraint satisfaction problems, propagate-and-search, natural language parsing (Definite Clause Grammars) All ppt pdf digit.oz propagate-search.oz constraints.oz PLP Chapter 11, CTM 9.2, 9.4, 12.1--12.2
11/24 Prolog I/O, equalities, types, operators; Databases: assert, retract All ppt pdf member.oz graph-db.oz PLP 11, CTM 9.6
12/01 Accumulators, Difference Lists (Prolog, Oz) All ppt pdf accumulators.oz dlists.oz CTM 3.4.3, CTM 3.4.4
12/04 Constraint Programming: Computation Spaces (Oz) ppt pdf rectangle.oz palindrome.oz sendmoremoney.oz CTM 12.3--12.5
12/08 Review for Exam 3
Exam 3

Reading Material



The course consists of three main parts, covering respectively functional, concurrent, and logic programming. Evaluation for each part includes a programming assignment and a partial exam.

For functional programming, we will use Haskell and Oz. For concurrent programming, we will use SALSA and Erlang. For logic programming, we will use Prolog and Oz. You can choose any of the two supported programming languages per paradigm for programming assignments. Programming assignments can be done either individually or in pairs. Do not show your code to any other group and do not look at any other group's code. Do not put your code in a public directory or otherwise make it public. You are encouraged to use the LMS Discussions page to post questions so that other students can also answer/see the answers. There will be three grace days for late submissions throughout the semester, to be used in any combination of PAs, e.g., PA1 may be one day late and PA3 may be two days late, as long as PA2 was submitted on time. Late assignments beyond the three day grace period will receive a grade of 0.

Students may use for reference during exams: physical textbooks, printed course slides, and one personal one-sided crib sheet. No electronics will be allowed. All exam answers must be the student's own. Exam grades may be curved.

We will use an adaptive weighting scheme for grades: The best two programming assignments will have a total grade weight of 40% (20% each), while the third one will have a weight of 10%. We will use the same adaptive weighting scheme for partial exams: the best two exam grades will be worth 40% of the total grade with the third one counting for 10% of the total grade. Final letter grades will then be assigned as follows:

Letter Grade Range
A [90-100]
A- [86.67-90)
B+ [83.33-86.67)
B [80-83.33)
B- [76.67-80)
C+ [73.33-76.67)
C [70-73.33)
C- [66.67-70)
D+ [63.33-66.67)
D [60-63.33)
F [0-60)

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 -- September 1st, 2015.