Hi There!

I'm Dan Schlegel, an Assistant Professor in the Computer Science Department at SUNY Oswego

CSC344 – Fall 2019

Programming Languages


Prof. Daniel R. Schlegel, 395 Shineman Center, daniel.schlegel@oswego.edu
Office/Lab hours: Monday: 4-5pm; Tuesday: 9-10am and 12:30-1:30pm; Thursday: 8-9am; and by appointment 
Section 810: MWF 11:30am-12:25pm, Shineman 170

Teaching Assistant:

This semester we will have a teaching assistant, Nicolas Van Kempen. 
Office Hours: Monday 2-4pm; Tuesday 2:30-3:30pm; Wednesday 3-5pm; Thursday 11am-12pm in 425 Shineman

Course Description:

This course introduces programming language concepts including design, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, implementation, and evaluation. Students will become familiar with the different categories of languages, including procedural, functional, object-oriented, logic, and concurrent programming paradigms. Theoretical topics will be covered in class, and students will complete projects on their own in several languages. The intention is that after this course the student will be able to quickly begin using new languages simply from an understanding of the syntax and a list of concepts used in that language.

Course Objectives: 

To write programs in each of several languages primarily supporting different approaches to programming
To write programs to process some representation of code for some purpose, such as an interpreter, an expression optimizer, or a documentation generator
To use the specifications of a given language to determine the syntax and semantics of supported constructions
To explain and follow the rules governing the use of a given type in a given language
To obtain the effects of constructions of one language in other languages
To identify coding errors that lead to insecure programs in non-type-safe languages
To choose among language-supported approaches to concurrency in a given context, including data-parallelism, message-passing, and explicit threads with shared mutable state


Required: Scott, Michael L., Programming Language Pragmatics 4e. Morgan Kaufmann, 2016
Recommended: Tate, Bruce, Seven Languages in Seven Weeks: A Pragmatic Guide to Learning Programming Languages. Pragmatic Bookshelf, 2010
Free Online: Slonneger, Kenneth and Kurtz, Barry L., Syntax and Semantics of Programming Languages. Addison Wesley, 1995

Useful Resources:


C Tutorial at tutorialspoint
C Language at cppreference
Advanced C Programming on Lynda.com


Clojure for the Brave and True 
Reference Materials at Clojure.org

Clojure – Getting Started
Clojure API


Clojure on Lynda.com


Scala Tutorials
Scala for Java Programmers
Scala on Lynda.com


Using the SWI-Prolog REPL
SWI Prolog Reference Manual
Learn Prolog Now! Online Text
Prolog Tutorial


Python 2.7 Tutorial [But avoid 2.7 if you can!]
Python 3 Tutorial
Moving to Python from Other Languages
Python Projects on Lynda.com (includes Eclipse PyDev setup tutorial)

Attendance and Participation:

As per college policy, attendance in all sessions is obligatory. If you cannot attend a class meeting due to religious, athletic, health related circumstance, or circumstance of particular hardship, please notify me in advance via email. Please be ready to present proof, if necessary. It is expected that each person actively engage in each class session.

Classroom Etiquette:

A positive learning environment relies upon creating an atmosphere where all students feel welcome. Classroom discussion is meant to allow us to hear a variety of viewpoints. This can only happen if we respect each other and our differences. Hostility and disrespectful behavior is not acceptable.

Cell phones and headphones should not be out or used during lecture, and laptops should only be used for taking notes (I don’t recommend this). If use of any electronics becomes distracting to other students I reserve the right to discontinue the allowance of their use.


Grades will be comprised of assignments, progress reports, and exams, according to the below percentages.

Progress Reports5%
Midterm Exam10%
Final Exam20%

The default grading for the course will be along the university’s standard grading curve:

A: 93-100C+: 77-79
A-: 90-92C: 73-76
B+: 87-89C-: 70-72
B: 83-86D+: 67-69
B-: 80-82D: 60-66
 E: 0-59

A more generous curve may be used, but should not be expected.


All assignments will be completed alone, but working together without writing or sharing code to come up with general solutions is encouraged. There will be 5 large projects, due typically two weeks after assignment. Each project will have an associated microproject, due before the larger project, meant to exhibit the use of some language features important to the larger project. Progress reports will be in-class discussions of progress, and happen roughly halfway between the date the assignment is given out, and the date it is due. The assignments are difficult, and I recommend starting work on them early, avoiding any tendency toward procrastination. You should plan on spending at least 10 hours per week on course work outside of class.

Projects must be satisfactorily demoed in person, then submitted on Blackboard, to receive any credit. Partial solutions will not receive any credit. The late penalty will be 5% per day. Microprojects must be submitted via Blackboard, and will not be accepted late (they do not need to be demoed).


There will be two exams, a midterm and a final. The midterm will be during week 7, and the final during finals week.

Each exam question will be assigned a point value (generally some multiple of 3 depending on difficulty), where the following scheme will be used in grading it:

0 – Did not attempt / No serious attempt
1 – Mostly incorrect solution
2 – Somewhat incorrect solution
3 – Perfect solution

If the problem is a multiple of 3, then intermediate scores will be given as appropriate. The total points received on all questions will then be summed and divided by the points possible and scaled as appropriate according to the percentages given above.


During the semester we aim to cover the following topics:

Language Specification and Implementation
Syntax and Semantics
Names, Scope and Binding
Control Flow
Type Systems and Type Safety
Language Paradigms (including imperative, logic, functional, scripting, concurrent, and object oriented)

This syllabus and the course schedule are subject to change by the instructor. All changes and related justification will be announced in class, and updates will be reflected in this web version.

Lecture slides will be maintained on Blackboard, but many lectures will include use of the whiteboard which may not be reflected in notes elsewhere.

1Monday8/26First day of class
Syllabus, Overview
How to be Successful in CSC344
Readings: PLP Chapter 1
Be sure to answer office hours survey!
Wednesday8/28A Brief History of PLs
Readings: Continue Reading PLP Chapter 1; Dijkstra - Go To Statement Considered Harmful
Friday8/31Overview, concluded
Brief comments on how PLs work
Readings: PLP 3.2 on memory allocation; PLP 8.5-8.5.2 on pointers in C (you may find early parts of 8.1 on record types useful as well); Begin looking at C useful resources
2Monday9/2No Class - Labor Day
Wednesday9/4BNF and Parsing
Some first thoughts on C
Readings: Be looking at C useful resources
Thursday9/5Add Deadline
Friday9/6C Operator Precedence
Memory and Memory Management
Readings: Refresh yourself on Turing Machines - I recommend section 5.1 of Foundations of Computation
Install CLion if you haven't already!
3Monday9/9Stack vs. heap memory allocation
Assignment 1 due (demoed) 9/23; Microproject due 9/13 on Blackboard
Wednesday9/11Writing secure code in C
Reading: PLP Chapter 11 through 11.3
Friday9/13Functional Programming Introduction
4Monday9/16Drop Deadline
Introduction to Lambda Calculus
Wednesday9/18CSA Announcement
Progress Report 1
Friday9/20Clojure Introduction
Readings: Continue reading PLP 11-11.3; Begin looking at Clojure useful resources
Install IntelliJ + Cursive if you haven't already!
5Monday9/23Clojure, continued
An example program: simulation of the Monty Hall Problem
Wednesday9/25Some recursive functions: Substitute and Deep Substitute
Assignment 2 due (demoed) 10/10; Microproject due 9/30 on Blackboard
Friday9/27Introduction to Type Systems
Reading: PLP Chapter 7 through 7.2
6Monday9/30No Class - Rosh Hashanah
Wednesday10/2Optional Type
Friday10/4Progress Report 2
7Monday10/7Midterm Study Guide
Type Inference
Wednesday10/9No Class - Yom Kippur
Friday10/11Midterm Exam
8Monday10/14Scala Introduction
Scala for Java Programmers
Assignment 3 due (demoed) 10/28 10/30; Microproject due 10/19 on Blackboard
Wednesday10/16Writing Recursive Descent Parsers
Friday10/18Recursive Descent & Pattern Matching Q&A
Midterm Exams Returned
9Monday10/21Intro to Logic Programming
Wednesday10/23Progress Report 3
Friday10/25Prolog: Ancestor Example
Withdraw Deadline
10Monday10/28Prolog: Recursive list processing
Wednesday10/30State-space problem solving with Prolog
Farmer, Goat, Wolf, Cabbage problem
Be reading Prolog useful resources!
Friday11/1Class cancelled due to wind!
11Monday11/4State-space problem solving with Prolog, concluded
Assignment 4 due (demoed) 11/21 11/25; Microproject due 11/11 on Blackboard
Wednesday11/6Pattern Matching
Friday11/8Unification, concluded
12Monday11/11Names, scopes, and bindings
Reading: PLP 3.3, 3.6
Wednesday11/13Scope and Declaration
Friday11/15Dan at AMIA
Progress Report 4 - Come to the classroom, directions will open at the beginning of class on Blackboard. You will submit an individual progress report and a group progress report.
13Monday11/18Dan at AMIA
Watch Propositions as Types. Expect an exam question on it!
Wednesday11/20Dan at AMIA
Work Day!
Friday11/22Dynamic Scope
Scripting Languages
14Monday11/25Scripting Languages, concluded
Assignment 5 due (demoed) 12/12 by 4:30pm; Microproject due 12/2 in Blackboard
Wednesday11/27No Class - Thanksgiving Break
Friday11/29No Class - Thanksgiving Break
15Monday12/2Snow day!
Reading: PLP 10.1 - 10.4
Wednesday12/4Object Orientation: Generics/Templates, Inheritance
Friday12/6Multiple Inheritance
Final Exam Study Guide
Last Day of Class
Finals WeekWednesday12/11Final Exam 10:30am-12:30pm in 170 Shineman

Academic Integrity:

SUNY Oswego is committed to Intellectual Integrity. Any form of intellectual dishonesty is a serious concern and therefore prohibited. You can find the full policy online. While it is acceptable to discuss general approaches with your fellow students, the work you turn in must be your own. You may not turn in code found on the internet. If you have any problems doing the assignments, consult the instructor. See my page on plagiarism for an explanation of what I consider cheating.


If you have a disabling condition which may interfere with your ability to successfully complete this course, please contact Accessibility Resources located at 155 Marano Campus Center, phone 315.312.3358, access@oswego.edu

Clery Act/Title IX Reporting:

SUNY Oswego is committed to enhancing the safety and security of the campus for all its members. In support of this, faculty may be required to report their knowledge of certain crimes or harassment. Reportable incidents include harassment on the basis of sex or gender prohibited by Title IX and crimes covered by the Clery Act. For more information about Title IX protections, go to https://www.oswego.edu/title-ix/ or contact the Title IX Coordinator, 405 Culkin Hall, 315-312-5604, titleix@oswego.edu. For more information about the Clery Act and campus reporting, go to the University Police annual report: https://www.oswego.edu/police/annual-report.