Computer Science 433
Programming Languages

Fall 2014, The College of Saint Rose



Dr. James D. Teresco, Albertus Hall 400-2, (518) 485-3755
Electronic mail: terescoj AT (best contact method)
Class URL: [Link]
Class hour: Monday, Wednesday 11:50-1:05, Albertus 205
Office hours: Monday 2:00-3:30, Tuesday 2:30-4:00, Wednesday 1:30-2:30, by appointment


Everything on this syllabus is subject to change. Changes will be announced in class and updated in the online version of the syllabus.

Course Objectives

From the course catalog: "A study of programming languages. This course explores fundamental constructs underlying programming languages and their use. Concepts are illustrated using a procedural language such as C, a functional language such as Scheme, a hybrid language such as Python, and a logic programming language such as Prolog. Advanced topics in object-oriented programming are also explored. Topics covered include language design, scoping rules, binding, parameter passing, as well as an exploration of interpreters and compilers."



The required text for the course is Concepts of Programming Languages, Tenth Edition (Pearson, 2012, ISBN 978-0-13-139531-2) by Robert W. Sebesta. This is available from the Saint Rose bookstore and elsewhere. Be sure to get the correct edition, as this is the latest in a long series of textbooks.


Everyone is expected to attend class and participate in discussions. Supplemental readings are listed on the lecture and reading schedule. Of course you are encouraged to do the reading, but all important topics will be covered in class.

The notes used to guide in-class presentations are available as PDF files linked from the lecture and reading schedule.

Be prompt, prepared, and ready to focus on the day's topics. This should go without saying, but this means your phones and other devices not being used exclusively to follow along with class materials and/or to take notes must be powered off. Unfortunately, food or drink cannot be permitted, as we meet in a computer lab.

Most lectures will include a small assignment due at the start of the next class. No late submissions of these "lecture assignments" will be accepted, as they will often be discussed in class on the due date. Some of these assignments will be graded for correctness, but most will be graded based on whether an honest effort was made.

Programs and Problem Sets

Problem sets that include both programming and non-programming tasks will be assigned throughout the semester. The number of points available on each will vary with the complexity of the assignment. Programs will be graded on design, documentation, style, correctness, and efficiency. Answers to questions are expected to be well-written.

You may develop programs for assignments anywhere (in the school's labs, your own computers, etc.) but grading will be done using the school's lab systems unless otherwise specified. It is your responsibility to ensure that your program works on the grading platform.

Unless otherwise specified, problem set work may be turned in with a penalty computed as 1.08h%, where h is the number of hours late. Extensions will only be granted in serious situations. You can find a Java program that prints out a table of the late penalties here and programs in several other languages in the class shared directory. Work turned in after solutions have been made available cannot receive credit.

All assignments and projects are to be submitted electronically using the procedure specified on each assignment's handout. Some assignments require an in-person demonstration. Please submit written work in portable formats (plain text or PDF). If in doubt about a file format, please check before submitting. Keep a copy of all submissions for yourself. For submissions consisting of more than one file, you will normally be required to submit a single archive (.zip, .7z, and .tar.gz files are acceptable) containing all necessary files.


There will be two exams, each with an in-class and take-home component. The midterm in-class section is tentatively scheduled for October 20, with the take-home due at the start of class on October 22. The final exam in-class section is tentatively scheduled for December 3, with the take-home due on December 5.

Final Project

For the last few weeks of the semester, the workload of the regular assignments will be reduced and you will focus your efforts on a project where you will study and make use of a programming language which we did not discuss in detail in class. The project will include a proposal, a progress report, a paper, a presentation, and software development. We will have our final exam a bit early and use the last regular class meeting and our exam week meeting to hold a minisymposium where you will present your projects. Details will be made available as the time approaches. Your final submission (paper and software) will be due on December 12.


Grades for individual assignments and exams are not scaled. Any scaling deemed appropriate will take place at the end of the semester by adjusting the thresholds. The following thresholds may be adjusted downward (thereby raising grades) but will never be adjusted upward.


Lecture Assignments 10% A >= 93% A- >= 90%
Programs/Problem Sets 35% B+ >= 87% B >= 83% B- >= 80%
Midterm Exam 15% C+ >= 77% C >= 70%
Final Exam 20% D >= 65%
Language Project 20% F < 65%


Every college student should be motivated to attend every lecture and lab meeting for all the right reasons (e.g., desire for knowledge, desire to get the most out of every very expensive minute, etc.). As college students, you understand that regular attendance is essential to your ability to master the course material.

Therefore, there is no formal attendance policy. You are expected to attend regularly, and should still see the instructor about any excused absences. An excused absence may be any of the following:

  1. A documented athletic or academic event that conflicts with a class meeting. The required paperwork must be presented in person at least one week prior to the event.
  2. A family emergency.
  3. Personal illness.

While there is no formal penalty for unexecused absences, missing class regularly, frequent tardiness, or being distracted in class (e.g., checking your phone or Facebook) will be considered a sign that you are not taking the course seriously. Common sense suggests and experience validates that students who are frequently absent, late, or inattentive perform poorly on graded work. Do not expect compassion when final grades are assigned or extensive extra help if you do not understand a topic that was covered while you were absent without a valid excuse.

Disability Accomodations

If you are a student with a documented disability and require academic accommodations please register with Lynn Cantwell, the Director of Services for Students with Disabilities, located in the Academic Support Center on the 2nd floor of St. Joseph Hall (campus extension 2335 or 518-337-2335, off campus) for disability verification and for determination of recommended reasonable academic accommodations. After you have made arrangements with that office, please see me to discuss your accommodations. Please remember that timely notice will help avoid a delay in your receipt of accommodations.

Academic Integrity

You are encouraged to discuss the concepts related to course assignments and exams with your classmates. This is an essential part of a healthy academic environment. However, work submitted for grading must be your own (or the combined work of group members, for group assignments). Any unauthorized copying or collaboration is considered a breach of academic integrity and will not be tolerated. Plagiarism, cheating, academic misconduct, or any other submission of another's work as one's own are unacceptable. Students working in groups are each individually responsible for the academic integrity of the entire group project. Academic dishonesty cases are unpleasant and uncomfortable for everyone involved. You are responsible for reading and understanding The College of Saint Rose Policy on Plagiarism and Academic Integrity.

The minimum penalties for a first violation will include failure (0 grade) for the assignment or exam in question and the filing of a Academic Dishonesty Report Form with the Registrar's office. A second violation will result in failure of the course and a second Academic Dishonesty Report Form.

If there is any doubt about the degree of collaboration allowed or the permitted sources for a particular assignment, please ask for clarification before collaborating or consulting the source. Any such collaborations or sources must be cited properly.