NYU, Graduate Division, Computer Science Course, CSCI-GA.3110-001 

 Honors Programming Languages 

 Patrick Cousot 

 Spring 2014 

Prerequisites, Description, Schedule, Office Hours, Textbook, Requirements, Grading, First class, Midterm, Spring Recess, Final, Requirements Course content


Basic practice of programming in any high-level programming language.

Course Description:

Objective of the course: learning how to learn programming languages

Programming is one of the basic activities of computer scientists which implies to know one or several programming languages. In the history of computer science thousands of programming languages have been invented, implemented, and used. Moreover each language has many revisions, dialects for different computers and operating systems, and domain-specific variants. It is therefore impossible to know all programming languages and programming models. Moreover research in programming languages is very active, so that computer scientists are very likely to use many programming languages during their career that simply did not exist at the beginning of their career. Hence, it is extremely important to learn how to learn new programming languages. This is precisely the main objective of this course which provides a methodology to learn and use programming languages, models, concepts, and tools to cope with legacy, portability, inter-operability, scalability, safety and security challenges in programming.

Basic concepts of programming languages

Languages are designed out of basic ideas, concepts, models, and programming styles that can be explained and understood independently of a particular languages and have as many instances as programming languages emboddying these features. The course will extensively study such features and abstractions. Examples are static and dynamic languages, typing and type inferrence, object-orientation, modularity, data organization, allocation and handling (e.g. stack, heap), control structures (iterators, recursion), abstraction (functions, objects), environment accessing (scripting), reflexion (self-modification of behavior), shared-variables/communications concurrency, etc. Moreover modern programming languages come with advanced tools (for example to verify the correctness of programs) which underlying principles must be well understood to be able to use these tools.

Which languages to learn

The course will introduce a panorama of programming languages concepts underlying the main programming language paradigms (such as imperative, functional, object-oriented, logic, concurrent, and scripting languages) and present in detail the formal methods (code semantics, specification, and verification) used in modern high quality assurance tools for software safety and security. A programming project (design and implementation of an interpreter/compiler for an dynamic object-oriented mini-language) will be programmed in OCaml, a multiparadigm language introduced at the beginning of the course.

Class Hours:

Tuesday and Thursday, 3:30PM—4:45PM, WWH 312

Office Hours:

By email appointment on Tuesday/Thursday, 2:00PM—3:15PM, WWH 405


None, all information (including course notes) is provided online by the instructor.

First class:

Tuesday January 28st, 2014


Thursday March 13th, 2014

Spring Recess:

Monday, March 17th, 2014 — Sunday, March 23rd, 2014, see the
Official University Academic Calendar


Thursday May 15th, 2014

Course requirements:

Individual oral presentation of a programming language, programming project, and final exam.


midterm (20%), oral presentation of a programming language (20%), programming project (30%), and final exam (30%).

The course content is online

© P. Cousot