Programming Languages

Spring 2002
Wednesday 5:00 - 7:00
Room 101, Warren Weaver Hall
Professor Edmond Schonberg

Room 706, 715 B'way

Instructor: Edmond Schonberg (

Office hours: Wednesday 3:00 to 4:30 pm, in WWH 425 , and by appointment.

Teaching Assistants:
Iuliana Ionita (, WWH 408
Office hours: Thursday 2:00 to 3:30 pm.


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, final examination, roughly in the same weight, i.e. the final represents half of the grade.


Assignment 1
Assignment 2
Assignment 3
Assignment 4
Assignment 5

GNAT and free software (in French)



Michael Scott: Programming Language, Pragmatics (Morgan Kaufman 2000)
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 any section that has to do with translation and compiler construction, but that material is interesting, and you will examine it in more detail when you take the Compiler Construction course.
John Barnes: Programming in Ada95

Recommended :

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.
We will discuss scripting and so-called very high level languages, and focus on Python, There is abundant on-line documentation for it, 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:

You can also subscribe by sending an e-mail message to The contents of the message should be the single line:
     subscribe g22_2110_001_sp02
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.

Using Ada

You can use the GNAT compiler on all servers at NYU. All the needed files are in /usr/local/pkg/gnat/bin/, so you should place this directory in front on your path. If your test program is called numbers.adb, you create an executable for it simply by writing:

gnatmake numbers.adb

which you can execute by writing: ./numbers

If you want to compile a single file, you can write:

gcc -c numbers.adb

You can also install gnat on your personal computer, by downloading the appropriate version from the NYU ftp site, ftp, directory pub/gnat.
Finally, you can install and use the ObjectAda compiler that comes with the Barnes text.
Copious information on Ada, including programming environments, software, and tools, can be found at Adapower .