COMP 105

Programming Languages, Fall 2019


Name Office E-mail Office Hours
(also available by appointment)
Jeff Foster 222 Halligan MW 1:15-2:00pm


LocationRobinson 253
TimeMW 3:00-4:15
MidtermMon, Oct 28 in class
FinalThu, Dec 12, 3:30-5:30pm, Robinson 253
  • Norman Ramsey, Build, Prove, and Compare, Fall 2019 - For purchase from main CS office
  • Ullman, Elements of ML Programming (ML97 Edition) - Optional, if you want a book on ML

All announcements will be posted on Piazza. Sign up here: COMP 105 Piazza Sign up

No recitations the week of Sep 2. Recitations will start the following week.

Principles and application of computer programming languages. Emphasizes ideas and techniques most relevant to practitioners, but includes foundations crucial for intellectual rigor: abstract syntax, lambda calculus, type systems, dynamic semantics. Case studies, reinforced by programming exercises. Grounding sufficient to read professional literature.

Recommendations: COMP 15 (Data Structures) and one semester of Discrete Mathematics (COMP 22 or MATH 61 -formerly MATH 22).

All TA office hours in either Halligan 235B or the Halligan kitchen

Time Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
10am-11am Julia Hedrick,
Janny Huang
Matthew Harrison,
Charlie DeLorey
Julia Hedrick Julia McDowell Joe Howarth
11am-12pm Julia McDowell,
Julia Hedrick
Patrick Wolfe Shucheng Tian,
Skye Soss
Kostas Tsiampouris Julia McDowell
12pm-1pm Mahima Agrawal Harrison Kaiser,
Julia McDowell
Patrick Wolfe,
Shucheng Tian
Shucheng Tian,
Skye Soss
Harrison Kaiser,
Jack Hale
Eric Metaj Tim Sanford,
Janny Huang
1pm-2pm Mahima Agrawal,
Skye Soss
Harrison Kaiser,
Jake Bennert
Jack Kerns,
Isaac Nielson
Harrison Kaiser,
Eric Metaj
Harrison Kaiser Caleb Dixon Tim Sanford,
Skye Soss
2pm-3pm Skye Soss,
Janny Huang
Jake Bennert Jake Bennert Harrison Kaiser,
Dana Grotenstein
Deepanshu Utkarsh Caleb Dixon Skye Soss
3pm-4pm Skye Soss,
Janny Huang
Jake Bennert,
Jack Kerns
Tim Sanford Mahima Agrawal
4pm-5pm Jay Mirecki,
Jake Bennert
OH AT 4:30,
Tim Sanford,
Harrison Kaiser
Deepanshu Utkarsh,
Jack Kerns
OH AT 4:30,
Harrison Kaiser
Eric Metaj Brian LaChance
5pm-6pm Emily Gheewalla,
Charlie DeLorey
Tim Sanford,
Matthew Harrison
Deepanshu Utkarsh,
Jack Hale
Matthew Harrison,
Joe Howarth
Eric Metaj
6pm-7pm Emily Gheewalla,
Charlie DeLorey
Jay Mirecki,
Caleb Dixon
Joe Howarth,
Deepanshu Utkarsh
Shucheng Tian,
Dana Grotenstein
Shucheng Tian
7pm-8pm Tim Sanford Caleb Dixon,
Emily Liu
Dana Grotenstein,
Joe Howarth,
Matthew Harrison
Jay Mirecki,
Charlie DeLorey
Skye Soss
8pm-9pm Tim Sanford Emily Liu,
Caleb Dixon
Matthew Harrison,
Kostas Tsiampouris
Fabrice Bigabiro-Mpogazi
9pm-10pm Mahima Agrawal,
Emily Liu
Emily Gheewalla,
Brian LaChance
Kostas Tsiampouris,
Fabrice Bigabiro-Mpogazi
Fabrice Bigabiro-Mpogazi
10pm-11pm Mahima Agrawal,
Emily Liu
Emily Gheewalla,
Fabrice Bigabiro-Mpogazi
Kostas Tsiampouris,
Chris Phifer,
Jay Mirecki
Chris Phifer,
Fabrice Bigabiro-Mpogazi
11pm-12am Jay Mirecki Jack Kerns,
Fabrice Bigabiro-Mpogazi
Chris Phifer,
Jay Mirecki
Chris Phifer

Here are Lecture Notes for the class. These lecture notes are what I teach from each day, but they are a bit approximate in that I might vary things on-the-fly. So when in doubt, go by the files posted on Canvas instead.

Sep 2(No class)NoneIntroduction;
Programming with algebraic laws;
Seven Lessons in Program Design, Lesson 1
Sep 9More programming with algebraic laws;
Textbook, 1.0-1.3
Programming with Induction, Recursion, and Algebraic LawsOperational semantics;
Textbook, 1.4
Impcore handout
Impcore solution
Sep 16Operational semantics;
Textbook, 1.6
Operational SemanticsScheme: Recursive programming with lists
Seven Lessons, Lesson 2;
Textbook 2.0-2.3.2, 2.3.5, 2.3.8, 2.4.0-2.4.4, 2.5
Opsem handout
Opsem solution
Sep 23Scheme: First-class and higher-order functions
Seven Lessons, Lesson 3
Textbook 2.7.2, 2.8.1., 2.8.2
Functional programming in μSchemeScheme: First-class and higher-order functionsScheme handout
Scheme solution
Sep 30Scheme: Higher-order functionsHigher-Order FunctionsScheme: Continuation passing, semanticsHOFs handout
HOFs solution
Oct 7A backtracking SAT solver
Textbook 2.10
ContinuationsLambda calculus
Rojas, A Tutorial Introduction to the Lambda Calculus
Ramsey, Reduction Strategies for Lambda Calculus
Ramsey, Coding in Lambda Calculus
Panangaden, Notes on the Lambda-Calculus
CPS handout
CPS solution
Oct 14(Tue, Oct 15)
Lambda Calculus
Lambda CalculusLambda Calculus
Introduction to ML
λ handout
λ solution
Oct 21Introduction to ML
Learning Standard ML
SML/NJ Literature
(None)Introduction to MLMidterm Review
Oct 28MidtermCore MLModules and Abstract Data TypesML
ML solution
Nov 4Ruby and Object-Oriented Programming
(Reference) Programming Ruby: The Pragmatic Programmer's Guide
Ruby 2.6.5 API
OOP in Ruby (due Nov 13)Ruby and Object-Oriented ProgrammingRuby
Nov 11No classRube Interpreter (Nov 13, due Nov 26)Type Systems
Textbook, 6
Seven Lessons, Lesson 5
ML Refs Handout
ML Refs Solution
Nov 18Type SystemsNoneType Inference
Textbook, 7
Nov 25Parametric PolymorphismRube Type Checker (due Dec 9)No class
Dec 2Type Inference(None)History of Programming Languages
Dec 9History of Programming Languages
Final Exam Review

  1. Programming with Induction, Recursion, and Algebraic Laws (solution)
  2. Operational Semantics (solution)
  3. Functional programming in μScheme (solution)
  4. Higher-Order Functions (solution)
  5. Continuations (solution)
  6. Lambda Calculus (solution, solution.scm)
  7. Core ML (warmup solution, join solution, imp solution)
  8. OOP in Ruby
  9. Rube Interpreter (solution, pdf solution)
  10. Rube Type Checker

Syllabus subject to change until the start of the semester


COMP 15 and COMP/MATH 61

List of Topics (Tentative)

Below is an approximate list of topics for class. The exact topics will be determined based on the pace of the class.

Office Hours and Web Forum

Office hours for the instructional staff will be posted on the course web page a few days into the semester.

While we will provide assistance with assignments during office hours, you are responsible for developing and debugging your own programs. Do not rely on the instructional staff to make your program work.

Important announcements will be made in class or on Piazza. Please make it a habit to check Piazza daily, and/or sign up to receive email when updates are posted to Piazza. You may also use the class web forum to ask general questions of interest to the class as a whole, e.g., administrative issues or homework clarification questions. Please do not post any information that would violate the University's Academic Integrity Policy.


You are responsible for all material discussed in class and posted on the class web page, including announcements, deadlines, policies, etc. Your final course grade will be determined according to the following percentages:

Meet your professor1%

Any request for reconsideration of any grading on coursework must be submitted within one week of when it is returned. Exam regrading requests must be made in writing. Any coursework submitted for reconsideration may be regraded in its entirety, which could result in a lower score if warranted.

Final course grades will be curved as necessary, based on each student's total numeric score for all coursework at the end of the semester. Important: Completing the programming assignments is an essential part of the course. Therefore, we may fail any student who does not make a good-faith attempt on all course homework, regardless of the student's performance or scores on the other coursework.


Homework must be submitted electronically following the instructions given in class. Homework may not be submitted by any other means (e.g., please do not email your homework to us). It is your responsibility to test your program and verify that it works properly before submitting. All homework is due at 11:59pm on the day indicated on the assignment, according to the submission server's internal clock.

Homework may be submitted up to 24 hours late for a 10% penalty. For example, a homework submission that would earn 90 points for an on-time submission will earn 81 (which is 90 times 0.90) if submitted late. Note that your homework score as it appears on the homework submission server will not include any late penalties. Any penalties will be incorporated into the final homework grade on the grade server.


Attending recitation is essential for success in the class. Therefore, attendance of recitations is required, and your participation in recitation will count towards your course grade. However, you may miss up to two recitations, for any reason, without penalty. If you miss a recitation due to an excused absence (see below), it will not count toward the two, but you must discuss that absence with us so we know.

Exam Scheduling

The class includes a midterm and a final exam. Tentative dates for the exams will be posted on the class web site. The exact dates will be confirmed later. We will let you know the exact dates well in advance.

Academic Resources

The Academic Resource Center offers a range of services for students.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

Tufts University values the diversity of our students, staff, and faculty, recognizing the important contribution each student makes to our unique community. Tufts is committed to providing equal access and support to all qualified students through the provision of reasonable accommodations so that each student may fully participate in the Tufts experience. If you have a disability that requires reasonable accommodations, please contact the Student Accessibility Services office to make an appointment with an SAS representative to determine appropriate accommodations. Please be aware that accommodations cannot be enacted retroactively, making timeliness a critical aspect for their provision.

Please also contact the instructor to discuss any necessary accommodations.

Excused Absences

You are expected to attend class regularly, complete course assignments on time, and take exams at the scheduled times. If you are unable to fulfill these requirements due to absence for a good reason, the instructor will excuse the absence and provide accommodation. Events that justify an excused absence include:

It is your responsibility to inform the instructor in advance of intended religious observances. Notice must be provided immediately upon an exam date being announced or confirmed for an absence to be excused.

The policies for excused absences do not apply to homework. Homework will be assigned with sufficient time to allow students to carry out the work even with other responsibilities. In cases of extremely serious documented illness of lengthy duration or other protracted, severe emergency situations, the instructor may consider extensions depending on the specific cirucmstances.

Absences stemming from job interviews, traffic or transportation problems, personal travel, and similar will not be excused.

Academic Integrity

The university's Academic Integrity Policy will be strictly enforced.

Unless otherwise specified, homework is to be written individually. Therefore, cooperation or use of unauthorized materials on homework is a violation of the Academic Integrity Policy. Homework solutions may not be posted online. Any evidence of this, or of unacceptable use of computer accounts, use of unauthorized materials or cooperation on exams or quizzes, or other possible academic integrity violations will be reported.

For learning the course concepts, students are welcome to study together or to receive help from anyone else. You may discuss with others the homework requirements, the features of the programming languages used, what was discussed in class and in the class web forum, and general syntax errors. Examples of questions that would be allowed are "Does a Java class definition end in a semicolon?" or "What does a 'class not found' error indicate?", because they convey no information about the contents of a homework assignment.

When it comes to actually solving a homework assignment, other than help from the instructional staff on homework must solely and entirely be your own work. Working with another student or individual, or using anyone else's work in any way except as noted in this paragraph, is a violation of the Academic Integrity Policy. You may not discuss design of any part of homework with anyone except the instructor or teaching assistants. Examples of questions you may not ask others might be "How did you implement this part of the homework?" or "Please look at my code and help me find my stupid syntax error!". You may not use any disallowed source of information in creating either their homework design or code. When writing homework you are free to use ideas or short fragments of code from published textbooks or publicly available information, but the specific source must be cited in a comment in the relevant section of the program.

Violations of the Code of Academic Integrity may include, but are not limited to:

  1. Failing to do all or any of the work on a homework by yourself, other than assistance from the instructional staff.
  2. Using any ideas or any part of another person's homework, or copying any other individual's work in any way.
  3. Giving any parts or ideas from your homework, including test data, to another student.
  4. Allowing any other students access to your program on any computer system.
  5. Transferring any part of a homework to or from another student or individual by any means, electronic or otherwise.

If you have any question about a particular situation or source then consult with the instructor in advance. Should you have difficulty with a programming assignment you should see the instructional staff in office hours, and not solicit help from anyone else in violation of these rules.

Retaking the Course

If you are repeating the course, you must abide by the following policies.

Right to Change Information

Although every effort has been made to be complete and accurate, unforeseen circumstances arising during the semester could require the adjustment of any material given here. Consequently, given due notice to students, the instructor reserves the right to change any information on this syllabus or in other course materials.