Principles of Programming Languages


NYU, Undergraduate Division, Computer Science Course - Fall 2015


Class MeetingsMon + Wed 11:00am-12:15pm in CIWW 312
First LectureSep 2, 2015
Last LectureDec 14, 2015
Midterm ExamOctober 26, 2015, 11:00am-12:15pm in CIWW 312
Final ExamDecember 21, 2015, 10:00-11:50am in CIWW 312
InstructorThomas Wies
OfficeCIWW 407
Office HoursMon 3:00-4:00pm, or by appointment


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, monads, 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

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 (50%), midterm exam (20%), final exam (30%).

Late Submission Policy

Late submissions of homework solutions will be graded with a 10% penalty per day of late submission. Solutions will not be graded if they are submitted later than one week after the specified deadline.

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.