The course topics will include:

Learning Objectives: (1) Deepen understanding on the significant theory of programming languages; (2) Present and define rigorously the major features and design concepts in programming languages; (3) Show how elegantly and easily one can design a programming language if one uses the right tools and framework; and (4) Learn and apply a novel programming language design framework to define a series of languages covering all major paradigms:

Textbook and Other Sources

Self-contained lecture notes will be posted online. No textbook required, but the following resources are useful:

  • The K Framework
  • Proceedings of Conferences on Programming Languages: PLDI, POPL, OOPSLA
  • Benjamin C. Pierce: Types and Programming Languages, MIT Press, 2002.
  • Friedman, Wand and Haynes, Essentials of Programming Languages, MIT Press, Second Edition, 2001.
  • Prerequisites

    Graduate classification or approval of instructor. You should be familiar with C/C++ or Java.

    Course Format

    The class meets twice or three times a week for lectures. Classroom material is enhanced with assigned readings and programming exercises. The course work includes several programming assignments and quizzes. No exams.


    70% of your course grade will be based on the programming assignments and 30% on class participation and quizzes:

    70%Programming assignments
    30%Class participation and quizzes
    100%Your total score for the class

    A grade of 90% or above guarantees an A, 80% or above a B, 70% or above a C, and 60% or above a D. The scale may be adjusted by the Instructor to reflect score variations.

    Late policy: Late submission beyond the deadline will not receive full credit earned in general, unless a University sanctioned excuse is provided ahead of time. In general, late submission will be penalized with a loss of 2% of the total points earned per hour late. Partial credit will be given based on the work submitted. After grades distributed/returned, there is one week time limit to notify the instructor of any questions or concerns in the grading.

    Make-up policy: Make-ups for quizzes and assignments will be given only under circumstances beyond student’s control (a university sanctioned excuse). Prior arrangements with the instructor must be made when feasible and official verification of circumstances necessitating the absence will be required.


    Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Policy Statement: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact Disability Services, currently located in the Disability Services building at the Student Services at White Creek complex on west campus, or call 979-845-1637. For additional information visit

    Academic Misconduct: Collaboration on coursework is forbidden except where specifically specified as "Team" activities. In general, one team may not collaborate with another team on "Team" activities. As commonly defined, plagiarism consists of passing off as one's own the ideas, work, writings, etc., that below to another. In accordance with this definition, you are committing plagiarism if you copy the work of another person and turn it in as your own, even if you have the permission of the person. Plagiarism is one of the worst academic sins, for the plagiarist destroys the trust among colleagues without which research cannot be safely communicated. Students violating this policy will be subject to procedures described in Section 20 (Academic Misconduct) of the current edition of the Texas A&M University Student Rules (

    Academic Integrity Statement: "An Aggie does not lie, cheat, or steal or tolerate those who do." Upon accepting admission to Texas A&M University, a student immediately assumes a commitment to uphold the Honor Code, to accept responsibility for learning and to follow the philosophy and rules of the Honor System. Students will be required to state their commitment on examinations, research papers, and other academic work. Ignorance of the rules does not exclude any member of the Texas A&M University community from the requirements or the processes of the Honor System. For additional information, please visit On all course work, assignments, and examinations at Texas A&M University, the following Honor Pledge shall be preprinted and signed by the student: "On my honor, as an Aggie, I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid on this academic work."

    Copyrights: The materials in this course are copyrighted. This includes Web site content, class slides, text, papers, syllabi, projects, homework, handouts, textbook, etc. Because these materials are copyrighted, it is illegal for you to copy the handouts, unless expressly granted permission. Note that there are several copyright holders, so permission must be granted by the appropriate source.