YCP Logo Syllabus

Instructor:David Hovemeyer
Office:KEC 113
Office Hours:T/Th 12:00 - 2:00, F 9:00 - 10:00
Class Location:KEC 119 (aka EIC 119)
Class Times:M/W 3:00 - 4:15 PM

CS 340 - Programming Language Design

Fall 2008

Course Description

This course examines the semantics of programming languages. Topics include formal specifications of syntax, declarations, binding, allocation, data structures, data types, control structures, control and data flow; the implementation and execution of programs; and functional programming versus imperative programming. Other possible topics include non-procedural and logic programming; object-oriented programming; and program verification. Programming projects will provide experience in a number of computer languages.


CS 201

Course Structure and Expectations

This class will cover some of the important concepts underlying computation and programming languages. We will also look at a variety of programming languages as case studies. One goal of the course is to learn about the strengths and weaknesses of different languages and programming paradigms for particular kinds of applications.

I expect that you start the course with a solid grasp of programming in a traditional imperative or functional programming language.

The course will consist primarily of lecture and discussion, with occasional in-class lab activities.

Two in-class midterm exams will be given. A scheduled final exam will be given; see the Final Exam Schedule.

Frequent in-class quizzes will be given. Up to two missed quizzes will be forgiven. Missed quizzes may not be made up. Both written assignments and programming assignments will be given as homework.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

  • Use finite automata and regular expressions to define regular languages
  • Use regular languages to define the lexical structure of programming languages
  • Use context-free grammars and push-down automata to define context-free languages
  • Use Turing machines and the Lambda calculus as semantic models of computation
  • Understand the concept of computability
  • Use context-free languages to define programming language grammars
  • Understand the essential semantic structures of programming languages (values, types, storage, control flow, etc.)
  • Implement an interpreter for a programming language
  • Understand the three main programming language paradigms: imperative, functional, and logic programming



Grades are assigned on a 100-point scale:

Numeric Range Letter Grade
90-100 A (4.0)
85-90 B+ (3.5)
80-85 B (3.0)
75-80 C+ (2.5)
70-75 C (2.0)
60-70 D (1.0)
0-60 F (0.0)

Your overall grade for the course will be determined as follows:

  • Programming assignments: 25%
  • Written homework (problem sets): 15%
  • Midterm exams: 30% (15% each)
  • Final exam: 20%
  • Quizzes: 5%
  • Attendance and participation: 5%

Course website

Please check the course web page, http://faculty.ycp.edu/~dhovemey/fall2008/cs340/, regularly for important announcements.

Reading Assignments

Reading assignments are posted in the Schedule at the end of this syllabus. I expect you to do the reading before class. When I give a lecture, I will assume you have done the reading. I encourage you to use class time to ask questions about parts of the reading you did not understand to your satisfaction.

Posting and submission of assignments and labs

Assignments and labs will be posted as zip files on the course web page, http://faculty.ycp.edu/~dhovemey/spring2008/cs340/.

Assignments will be submitted using the server https://camel.ycp.edu:8443. You will receive an email containing the username and password you should use for this server.

Academic Integrity

The following policy pertains to homework and graded (individual) programming assignments:

All homework assignments and graded (individual) programming assignments are to be completed individually. I encourage you to discuss high level concepts with other students, but any work you submit must be yours alone.

Direct copying of code or other work from other students, web sites, or other sources is absolutely forbidden under any circumstances.

Any sources (books, websites, articles, fellow students, etc.) that you consult in completing an assignment must be properly acknowledged. In general, I strongly discourage you from using any resource not explicitly listed in the course syllabus or on the course web page. When you work on a programming assignment, it must be your program, not your adaptation of someone else's program.

Quizzes and exams must be completed individually.

Lab assignments are not graded---therefore, you may work with other students on them.

Any violation of the course's academic integrity policy will be referred to the Dean of Academic Affairs, and could have consequences ranging from a 0 on an assignment to dismissal from the college.

Late Assignments

Late assignments will be marked down 5% per day late. No credit is given for assignments turned in after grading has taken place.


No make-up exams will be given without approval of the instructor prior to class unless proof of extreme emergency or illness is provided.

Attendance and Participation

I expect you to attend class and participate regularly in class discussions. If you miss a class, please notify me in advance. You are responsible for all material covered in class, regardless of whether or not you were present. If you attend and participate in class regularly, you can expect to receive full credit (5% of the course grade) for attendance and participation. Frequent absence and/or lack of participation in class discussions will reduce the credit you receive for attendance and participation. You are responsible for keeping up with the reading assignments as described in the schedule below.

Use of Personal Technology in the Classroom

While York College recognizes students’ need for educational and emergency-related technological devices such as laptops, PDA’s, cellular phones, etc., using them unethically or recreationally during class time is never appropriate. The college recognizes and supports faculty members’ authority to regulate in their classrooms student use of all electronic devices.

Communication Standards

York College recognizes the importance of effective communication in all disciplines and careers. Therefore, students are expected to competently analyze, synthesize, organize, and articulate course material in papers, examinations and presentations. In addition, students should know and use communication skills current to their field of study, recognize the need for revision as part of their writing process, and employ standard conventions of English usage in both writing and speaking. Students may be asked to further revise assignments that do not demonstrate effective use of these communication skills.


This schedule may be subject to minor changes. Any changes will be announced in class and also be posted on the course web page.

Revised Sept 15th: Added lecture 4a.

Revised Sept 17th: Moved Lectures 5, 6, 7 forward.

Week Note Topic Reading
Week 1: Aug 25-29 No class Monday Regular Languages Lecture 1 Notes
Week 2: Sep 1-5 No class Monday Finite Automata Lecture 2 Notes
Week 3: Sep 8-12   Regular expressions, NFAs, and DFAs
Context-Free Languages
Lecture 3 Notes
Lecture 4 Notes
Week 4: Sep 15-19   Programming with regexps
Lecture 4a Notes
Week 5: Sep 22-26   PDAs, Turing Machines
Decidability, Halting Problem, Lambda Calculus
Lecture 5 Notes
Lecture 6 Notes
Week 6: Sep 29-Oct 3   Currying and Recursion in Lambda Calculus Lecture 7 Notes
Week 7: Oct 6-10   Values and Types Variables and Storage Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Oct 11-14 Fall break, no classes
Week 8: Oct 13-17 No class Monday Variables and Storage (cont'd)  
Week 9: Oct 20-24   Bindings and Scope Chapter 4
Week 10: Oct 27-31   Procedural Abstraction Chapter 5
Week 11: Nov 3-7   Data Abstraction Chapter 6
Week 12: Nov 10-14   Generic Abstraction Chapter 7
Week 13: Nov 17-21   Object-Oriented Languages TBA
Week 14: Nov 24-28 No class Wednesday Functional Languages TBA
Nov 26-30 Thanksgiving break, no classes
Week 15: Dec 1-5   Functional Languages (cont'd)
Logic Programming
Week 16: Dec 8-12 No class Wednesday Logic Programming TBA