Stephen A. Edwards Columbia University Crown
  COMS W4115
Programming Languages and Translators
Summer 2006 (CVN)
Home Project
name email
Prof. Stephen Edwards
  Please begin email subject lines with [COMS 4115]
  The goal of PLT is to teach you both about the structure of computer programming languages and the basics of implementing compilers for such languages.

The course will focus mostly on traditional imperative and object-oriented languages, but will also cover functional and logic programming, concurrency issues, and some aspects of scripting languages. Homework and tests will cover language issues. You will design and implement a language of your own design in a semester-long group project.

While few of you will ever implement a full commercial compiler professionally, the concepts, techniques, and tools you will learn have broad application.

  Java fluency: You will be writing a large Java program and must know the language well.
  COMS W3157 Advanced Programming: You will be dividing into teams to build a compiler, so you need to have some idea how to keep this under control. Quick test: you need to know about Makefiles and source code control systems.
  COMS W3261 Computability and Models of Computation: You will need an understanding of formal languages and grammar to build the parser and lexical analyzer. Quick test: you must know about regular expressions, context-free grammars, and NFAs.
Date  Lecture  Notes  Reading  Due 
May 24   Intro. to Languages   pdf   Ch. 1, 2      
May 26   Language Design   pdf        
May 29   Language Processors   pdf        
May 31   Scripting Languages   pdf        
June 2   Syntax and Parsing   pdf   Ch 3, 4      
June 5   "          
June 7   Security   pdf     White Paper    
June 9   Parsing          
June 12   Getting it right   pdf        
June 14   ANTLR   pdf     HW1 pdf    
June 16   ASTs   pdf   Ch. 4      
June 19   Small Examples   pdf   Ch. 11, 12      
June 21   Names, Scope, and Bindings   pdf        
June 23   "       LRM    
June 26   Control-flow   pdf        
June 28   "          
June 30   Midterm review   pdf        
July 5   Midterm          
July 7   Types   pdf   Ch. 6      
July 10   "          
July 12   Code Generation   pdf   Ch. 8, 9      
July 14   Logic Programming   pdf        
July 17   Functional Programming   pdf        
July 19   "       HW2 pdf    
July 21   Review for final   pdf        
July 24   Final Exam          
August 11   Project reports due          
 Required Text
  Cover of the Dragon Book Alfred V. Aho, Ravi Sethi, and Jeffrey D. Ullman.
Compilers: Principles, Techniques, and Tools.
Addison-Wesley, 1985.

Long the standard text on compilers, the ``dragon book'' is now a little dated. It remains one of the more readable books on the topic, and is written by our own Prof. Al Aho.
 Optional Texts
  Cover of Programming Language Pragmatics Michael L. Scott.
Programming Language Pragmatics
Morgan Kaufmann, 2000

A broad-minded book about languages in general, but has less on practical details of compiler construction.
  Cover of Appel Andrew W. Appel.
Modern Compiler Implementation in Java.
Cambridge University Press, 1998.

The opposite of Scott: focuses on compiler construction, not language design issues.
  Cover of Muchnick Steven S. Muchnick
Advanced Compiler Design and Implementation.
Morgan Kaufmann, 1997.

A very extensive book on many aspects of compiler design. Starts about halfway through Appel and goes much farther. Recommended for serious compiler hackers only.
 Class Policies
  Grading 40 % Project
20 % Midterm
30 % Final
10 % Homework
  Collaboration You may not collaborate with others on homeworks. Any two students found submitting similar code will receive zero credit for the whole assignment, and repeat offenses will be referred to the dean. See Columbia academic policies for more details.
  Late Policy Zero credit for anything handed in after it is due without explicit approval of the instructor.

Copyright © 2006 Stephen A. Edwards Updated Sat Jun 10 19:04:58 EDT 2006 All Rights reserved