CS 463 - Spring 2020


1 Basics

2 Textbooks (recommended; no purchases necessary for the course)

  • Concepts of Programming Languages, 11th edition. (10th edition is fine with a bit of effort). Robert W. Sebesta. Used is fine.
  • Real World Haskell. Bryan O'Sullivan, Don Stewart, and John Goerzen. Available free online or for sale in hardcopy.
  • Learn You A Haskell For Great Good!. available free online or for sale in hardcopy.
  • other references and tutorials will be linked online throughout the semester.

3 Goals

  • Course Objectives: Students will gain an understanding of key programming mechanisms described independently of particular machines or languages, including control, binding, procedural abstraction, types, and concurrency. Includes basic programming competence in several different types of programming languages.
  • Course Outcomes: At the end of this course, students should:
    • be able to read and use formal representations of programming language syntax.
    • understand, in a language independent way, basic programming language components such as variables, types, expressions, scope, and control flow and see the choices made for these components by common languages.
    • have an understanding of runtime procedure/function control and data flow implementation.
    • have a basic understanding of the major programming language paradigms (imperative, OO, functional, logic), including relevant application domains, strengths and weaknesses.
    • have an understanding of the fundamentals of concurrent programming and the language-level constructs that are used in concurrent programming.
    • gain basic programming competence in several different types of programming languages, facilitating transition to other current (and future) languages encountered during their professional career.

4 Grading Policy

The grade will be determined by grades obtained in projects (avg), homeworks (avg), and test scores. If circumstances require it (e.g. weather), the grading scale may be adjusted, generally in the students' favor. If any extra credit is available, it will tend to be available on specific assignments, and not as an end-of-semester batch of extra work. If you're not happy with the trajectory of your grade, change something!

Category Est. Weight Policy
Projects about 4 15% all averaged together
Homeworks about 8 30% drop 1 lowest, avg. together
Quizzes about 7 15% drop 1 lowest, avg. together
Midterm exactly 1 15% higher final exam replaces grade
Final Exam exactly 1 25% cumulative

Grade cutoff percentages:

A+ 98 A 92 A- 90
B+ 88 B 82 B- 80
C+ 78 C 72 C- 70
D 60 F 0  
  • Late Work:
    • No work is accepted later than 48 hours after the posted deadline.
    • For all assignments overall (projects and homeworks), students begin the semester with three One-Day-Late tokens. If you have a token left and turn in work late, the token is spent and no other deduction is made on the work. If you run out of tokens, then each day late drops the highest possible score by 25%. (Take the minimum of your raw score and 75%, for instance).
  • Contested Grades: All requests are due within a week of the grade becoming available on Blackboard. To do so, either schedule a meeting in person or send an email requesting further feedback and consideration. After that week, the window to contest a grade has closed other than recording errors. Contact the GTA about homework/projects, and contact the professor about tests.
  • Homeworks - some are on paper and pencil, others are coding exercises in various languages. All are weighted equally and the lowest is dropped. They generally will be the active assignment for one week only.
  • Quizzes - many weeks we will have a quiz related to the most recent homework. They will be in person, at the beginning of class. Regardless of reason, we only drop the one lowest grade; if you miss multiple quizzes you will start having zeroes calculated in, whether it was for traffic, illness, a cousin's wedding, a court date, or attending a conference.
  • Tests
    • Student ID is required for all tests.
    • If the midterm is missed, the final exam automatically counts that much more.
    • Missing the final exam is very hard to recover from - plan ahead! If you are flying anywhere, don't purchase tickets that overlap exams week. If we get enough snow days, our exam date will likely change. See the GMU Final Exams Schedule for details.
  • Honor Code: All graded work must be your own. Any attempts at cheating will not be tolerated, and will be turned in to the Honor Court with significant penalties recommended (usually F in the course and attendance in an Academic Integrity seminar for a first offense). By this point you should be familiar with these:

    In short you should never see, share, or discuss any part of the solution to any graded work, from algorithm development to implementation to debugging to personal test cases. When in doubt, ask your instructor instead of another student. For clarity, It's okay for this class to study on completed works ahead of tests.

5 Learning Disabilities

I generally honor all accommodations formally established through GMU's Office of Disability Services. This requires students to self-advocate, and proactively request use of these accommodations (such as requesting alternate testing times a week in advance), so get things sorted out ahead of time in case you think it may be necessary/useful. They also assist with short-term situations such as concussions - if our tokens and drops policy can't handle a prolonged situation, then ODS is the right channel to establish what kind of support is appropriate for you to get through the semester successfully without needing a medical withdrawal.

  • note - all test center scheduling can be done as early as day one of the semester - students with accommodations are encouraged to complete these requests early on.