Programming Languages

Fall 2011
Wednesdays 5:00 - 6:50
Room 109, Warren Weaver Hall
Professor Edmond Schonberg

Instructor: Edmond Schonberg (
Office hours: CIMS 420. Wednesday 3:00p m to 5:00 pm and by appointment.
Teaching Assistants:
Alex Rubinsteyn


We will examine basic concepts underlying the design of modern programming languages: types, control structures, abstraction mechanisms, inheritance, concurrency, constructs for programming in the large, etc. This is not a programming course per se, but there will be programming assignments in several languages, imperative and functional. The languages are chosen because of the interest of their features, and not necessarily because of their wide use. We will touch on Ada, C++, C#, Java, LISP, ML, Python, Scheme, and mention many others.
Course Outline


Undergraduate courses in data structures and algorithms, familiarity and programming experience with one of the following: C, C++, Ada,Java, or Pascal.

Course Work

Programming assignments, midterm, final examination. Assignments count for 40% of the grade, but you must hand in all assignments.



Michael Scott: Programming Language Pragmatics (Morgan Kaufman 2009)
This is a excellent recent text that covers both language design and compiler fundamentals. In your readings for this course you don't need to study sections that deal with translation and compiler construction issues, but that material is interesting, and you will examine it in more detail when you take the Compiler Construction course. The latest edition of the book has just appeared, but you can use an earlier edition if you have a copy of it.

Recommended :

John Barnes: Programming in Ada2005 Addison Wesley
We will mention Ada in several contexts because the language design highlights some fundamental issues about programming in general. This is the standard text on the language. We will also use on-line materials listed below.
You must have some good text on C++ and on Java. For C++ the 3rd edition of Stroustrup: the C++ programming Language, is the standard reference. For Java, the language definition is given in: Gosling, Joy and Steele: the Java Language Specification. For both languages, there are several introductory texts by Horstmann that are very well-written, and innumerable others.
We will discuss functional languages, specifically Scheme and ML, for which there is abundant on-line documentation. The older book by Ravi Sethi: Programming Languages, Concepts and Constructs, has several good chapters on functional languages. For ML, a good pragmatic reference is "ML for the working Programmer" by Paulson.
We will discuss scripting and so-called very high level languages, and focus on Python and Perl, There is abundant on-line documentation for both, and several programming texts and users guides from O'Reilly.

Class list

All students should register themselves with the class list, which is used for all technical discussions concerning the course. To register, go to the following web page, and follow the instructions:

g22_2110_001_fa11 class list

You can also subscribe by sending an e-mail message to The contents of the message should be the single line:
     subscribe csci_ga_g22_2110_001_fa11
you will be notified in return that you are a list participant. Please send all your questions to this list (not to the instructor) so that everyone can participate.


You are free to do the programming assignments on any machine you choose, either the NYU servers, some other machine at work, or a personal computer at home. For each programming assignment, Indicate what compiler you used.


Assignments must be submitted electronically. Send plain text, not Word files or other exotic formats. For executable programs, provide the test data and the output, and indicate the compiler you used. Send the assignments to:
Assignment 1
Assignment 2
Assignment 3
Assignment 4
Assignment 5
Assignment 6
Assignment 7