Principles of Programming Languages


NYU, Undergraduate Division, Computer Science Course - Spring 2015


Class MeetingsMon + Wed 11:00am-12:15pm in CIWW 512
First LectureJan 26, 2015
Last LectureMay 11, 2015
Midterm ExamMarch 11, 2015, 11:00am-12:15pm in CIWW 512
Final ExamMay 18, 2015, 10:00-11:50am in CIWW 512
InstructorThomas Wies
OfficeCIWW 407
Office HoursMon 3:00-4:00pm, or by appointment
Teaching AssistantGaurav Murade
Office HoursThu 5:00-6:00pm in CIWW 412.


Computing professionals have to learn new programming languages all the time. This course teaches the fundamental principles of programming languages that enable you to learn new languages quickly and help you decide which one is best suited for a given task.

We will explore new ways of viewing computation and programs, and new ways of approaching algorithmic problems, making you better programmers overall. The topics covered in this course include recursion and induction, algebraic data types and pattern matching, higher-order functions, continuations and tail recursion, programming language syntax and semantics, type systems, and objects and classes. We will explore this material by building interpreters for programming languages of increasing complexity. The course will thus be accompanied by extensive programming projects. We will use the programming language Scala for these projects, which you will also learn in this course.

Prerequisites: Computer Systems Organization (CSCI-UA 201). Proficiency in programming languages such as Java is expected.

Course Material

Required Reading

Recommended Reading

Scala Resources

JavaScript Resources


You can find the syllabus and class notes on the course's NYU classes page.

Mailing List

All course-related announcements will be sent to the course mailing list. You may also use this list to ask questions and discuss issues related to the course. If you have enrolled before the start of the term, you are automatically subscribed to the list. Otherwise, use the above link to subscribe manually.


Homework and projects (50%), midterm exam (20%), final exam (30%).

Academic Integrity

Please review the departmental academic integrity policy. In this course, you may discuss homework problems and assignments with other students, but the work you turn in must be your own. Do not copy another student's work. Also, you should consult the instructor before using materials or code other than that provided in class. Copying code or other work without giving appropriate acknowledgment is a serious offense with consequences ranging from no credit to potential expulsion.