CSCI.4430/6430 Programming Languages-- Fall 2016

Instructor:  Carlos Varela
Office:  Lally 308 (x 6912)
Office Hours:  Tuesdays and Fridays, 12:30-1:45pm; or by appointment
Meeting Place:  Sage 3303
Meeting Hours:  Tuesdays and Fridays 2:00-3:50pm
TAs: Charles Hathaway, Wissal Lahjouji, and Sowrabbi LakshmiNarayanan
TAs' Office Hours: Home page
For questions about the course, please email:

LMS Home Page:
Use LMS to submit your assignments, check your grades, and post questions in the discussions forums.


Programming Assignment #1 is Available. See description.

Programming Assignment #2 is Available. See description.

Programming Assignment #3 is Available. See 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 Handouts Book Chapters
08/30 Introduction to programming languages:  history, essentials, syntax, semantics, paradigms. ppt pdf functions.oz functions.hs PDCS Chapter 2
09/02 Lambda calculus:  alpha-renaming, beta-reduction, applicative and normal evaluation orders, Church-Rosser theorem, combinators, booleans ppt pdf combinators.oz combinators.hs eta.oz eta.hs PDCS Chapter 2
09/06 Lambda calculus: higher order programming, eta-conversion, recursion combinator, numbers, Church numerals
ppt pdf rec.oz lambda-numbers.oz lambda-numbers.hs lambda-booleans.oz lambda-booleans.hs hop.oz hop.hs PDCS Chapter 2
09/09 Functional programming: lists, records, pattern matching, recursion (Haskell, Oz)-- Programming Assignment 1 Due 09/22
PA1 description PA1 description (pdf)
all ppt pdf pascal.oz pascal.hs lists.oz lists.hs comb.oz comb.hs nth.hs
CTM Chapters 1.1-1.7, 3.2, 3.4.1-3.4.2
09/13 Higher order programming: closures, procedural abstraction, genericity, instantiation, embedding. ppt pdf sqrt.oz sqrt.hs CTM Chapters 3.2 and 3.6.1
09/16 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
09/20 Lazy evaluation, infinite data structures, set comprehensions pdf ppt lazy-eval.hs lazy-eval.oz CTM Chapters 1.8 and 4.5
09/23 Type checking and type inference, abstract data types, monads pdf ppt stack.oz stack.hs list-monad.hs count-monad.hs type-limitations.hs CTM Chapters 2.8.3 and 3.7, EPL Chapter 4, GIH Section 9
09/27 Review for Exam 1 pdf pdf
Exam 1
10/04 Actors:  a model of concurrent computation pdf ppt PDCS Chapter 4
10/07 Actor programming languages (SALSA, Erlang) pdf ppt Cell.salsa CellTester.salsa cell.erl cellTester.erl PDCS Chapter 9, CPE Chapter 5
10/14 Concurrency control abstractions -- Programming Assignment 2 Due 10/27 All ppt pdf

fibonacci/Fibonacci.salsa fibonacci/Calculator.salsa

jcfib/fib.salsa jcfib/JoinCont.salsa jcfib/FibTester.salsa


jctreeprod/TreeProduct.salsa jctreeprod/JoinCont.salsa jctreeprod/TreeProductTester.salsa

treeprod/JoinTreeProduct.salsa treeprod/JoinTreeProductTester.salsa

fibonacci.erl treeprod.erl
PDCS Chapter 9, CPE Chapter 5
10/18 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/AddUser.salsa addressbook/GetEmail.salsa addressbook/GetName.salsa

addressbook.erl addressbook_client.erl
PDCS Chapter 9, CPE Chapter 6
Mobility (SALSA) and fault-tolerance (Erlang) abstractions; garbage collection, visualization (SALSA), hot code loading (Erlang) pdf ppt Migrate.salsa MigrateBook.salsa MovingCellTester.salsa addressbook_exception.erl PDCS Chapter 9, CPE Chapter 7
10/25 Object-oriented programming: inheritance, polymorphism (Oz, Java) pdf ppt oop.oz CTM Chapters 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
11/01 Review for Exam 2 pdf ppt
Exam 2
11/08 Predicate calculus, first-order logic, Horn clauses, Clocksin-Mellish procedure. pdf ppt PLP 11, CTM 9.3.1
Terms, Resolution, Unification, Search, Backtracking (Prolog); Relational Computation Model (Oz). pdf ppt students.oz rainy.oz PLP 11, CTM 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 12/01 pdf ppt family.oz append.oz PLP 11, CTM 9.3.2-9.3.4.
Constraint satisfaction problems, propagate-and-search, natural language parsing (Definite Clause Grammars) pdf ppt digit.oz propagate-search.oz constraints.oz PLP 11, CTM 9.2, 9.4, 12.1-12.2
11/22 Prolog I/O, equalities, types, operators; Databases: assert, retract
pdf ppt member.oz graph-db.oz PLP 11, CTM 9.6
11/29 Accumulators, Difference Lists
pdf ppt accumulators.oz dlists.oz CTM 3.4.3-3.4.4
12/02 Constraint Programming: Computation Spaces
pdf ppt rectangle.oz palindrome.oz sendmoremoney.oz CTM 12.3-12.5
12/06 Review for Exam 3 ProgLangPart3Summary.pdf ProgLangPart3Summary.ppt
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 -- August 29, 2016.