PL: Programming Languages


Course:21048 (Spring Semester 2018)
Lecturer: Oscar Nierstrasz
Staff: Nevena Milojković, Mohammadreza Hazhirpasand
Lectures: Friday 10h15 - 12h00
Exercises: Friday 12h00 - 13h00
Place: IWI 001, Engehaldestrasse 8
Start: 2018-02-23
Exam: 2018-06-01
Repetition:Spring 2021


Programming languages are the means by which we instruct a computer to perform tasks for us. We use different programming languages to accomplish different tasks, but what really are the differences between various languages?

In this course we adopt the viewpoint that programming is modeling, so different programming languages offer us different ways to model our applications. We will examine a number of different paradigms for programming, and in each case look at one or more concrete examples of programming languages that support that paradigm. Specifically we will look at languages like Postscript, Haskell, Prolog, JavaScript and EToys. We will also take a brief look at the semantics of programming languages, and we will see how semantic descriptions can be made directly executable to obtain a rapid prototype of a language.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • distinguish the key programming paradigms and know how to apply them
  • know how to program a stack machine
  • understand different forms of polymorphism
  • exercise basic skills in functional programming
  • understand how the lambda calculus offers a basic semantic foundation for programming
  • understand the role of static typing in object-oriented programming
  • exercise basic skills in logic programming


The final grade in the course will be based 30% on exercises and 70% on the final exam.

Schedule 2018

Week Date Lecture Exercises
1 23-Feb-18 Introduction Assignment 1
2 02-Mar-18 Stack-based Programming Assignment 2
3 09-Mar-18 Functional Programming Assignment 3
4 16-Mar-18 Types and Polymorphism Assignment 4
5 23-Mar-18 Lambda Calculus Assignment 5
- 30-Mar-18 Good Friday
- 06-Apr-18 Spring break
6 13-Apr-18 Fixed Points Assignment 6
7 20-Apr-18 Programming Language Semantics Assignment 7
8 27-Apr-18 Objects and Prototypes Assignment 8
9 04-May-18 Objects, Types and Classes Assignment 9
10 11-May-18 Logic Programming Assignment 10
11 18-May-18 Applications of Logic Programming Assignment 11
12 25-May-18 Visual Programming
13 01-Jun-18 Final Exam
Last changed by oscar on 6 January 2020