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COMP332 – Programming Languages

2017 – S2 Day

General Information

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Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit Convenor, Lecturer
Anthony Sloane
Contact via Email
E6A315
Mon 2-3pm except in Weeks 4 and 5
Lecturer
Dominic Verity
Contact via Email
E6A310
Mon 2-3pm in lecture weeks
Tutor
Kym Haines
Contact via Email
N/A
TBA on iLearn
Credit points Credit points
3
Prerequisites Prerequisites
(39cp at 100 level or above) including (COMP225 or COMP229)
Corequisites Corequisites
ISYS358 or (3cp COMP units at 300 level) or (ENGG350 and admission to BE or BE(Hons) or BEBA or BE(Hons)BA or BEBBA or BEBCom or BE(Hons)BCom or BEBSc or BE(Hons)BSc)
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description
Formal languages play a central role in modern software development. Programming languages such as Java and C++ allow developers to express their algorithms and data structures. Compilers and interpreters transform programs into running software. Data languages such as XML and JSON are widely used to transfer information between systems. This unit studies software languages by looking at how they are used in software development. Students will study how to formally understand the syntax, semantics and translation of software languages. Practical exercises involve writing software language processors of various kinds such as simple compilers or data transformation tools.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at http://students.mq.edu.au/student_admin/enrolmentguide/academicdates/

Learning Outcomes

  1. Explain the role that languages play in software development and describe a spectrum of software languages that are in current use.
  2. Express properties of software languages using formal notations.
  3. Translate formal notations of software language properties into implementations of language processors.
  4. Demonstrate that a language processor is operating correctly by construction and use of appropriate test cases.

General Assessment Information

ASSIGNMENTS

The unit has three assignments which together constitute the implementation of a small but non-trivial programming language using Scala and the Kiama library.

Assessment deadlines are strict, unless notification of disruption is received (preferably in advance) accompanied by appropriate documentary evidence. Late submissions will be penalised at the rate of 20% of the full marks for the assessment per day or part thereof late.

EXAMINATIONS

The unit has three examinations corresponding to weeks 1-4, 5-8, and 9-12, respectively. Each examination is offered twice: once during the mixed classes in weeks 6, 10 and 13, respectively, and once in the final examination period. The repeat offerings of the examination will not be identical examinations but will be designed to assess the same material.

If a student attempts an examination more than once then the higher of their marks for the two attempts will be used to compute the grade.

MIXED CLASSES

Each week tutorial and practical exercises will be set for the mixed classes. These exercises are not to be submitted and do not attract any marks. They are designed to prepare students for the examinations and the assignments.

Assessment Tasks

Name Weighting Due
Assignment 1: Syntax Analysis 10% Week 4/5
Examination 1 (Weeks 1-4) 20% Mixed Class Week 6
Assignment 2:Semantic Analysis 15% Week 8/9
Examination 2 (Weeks 5-8) 20% Mixed Class Week 10
Assignment 3: Translation 15% Week 11/12
Examination 3 (Weeks 9-12) 20% Mixed Class Week 13
Final Examination 0% Exam Period

Assignment 1: Syntax Analysis

Due: Week 4/5
Weighting: 10%

The first assignment focuses on processing the syntax of a language to obtain a representation that the rest of the implementation can use.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Express properties of software languages using formal notations.
  • Translate formal notations of software language properties into implementations of language processors.
  • Demonstrate that a language processor is operating correctly by construction and use of appropriate test cases.

Examination 1 (Weeks 1-4)

Due: Mixed Class Week 6
Weighting: 20%

This examination will assess the material from Weeks 1-4 of the semester. The examination will be held in the first hour of the mixed class in this week.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Explain the role that languages play in software development and describe a spectrum of software languages that are in current use.
  • Express properties of software languages using formal notations.

Assignment 2:Semantic Analysis

Due: Week 8/9
Weighting: 15%

The second assignment focuses on the semantics of a language by processing the representation produced by syntax analysis to check language rules and provide information needed for later processing.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Express properties of software languages using formal notations.
  • Translate formal notations of software language properties into implementations of language processors.
  • Demonstrate that a language processor is operating correctly by construction and use of appropriate test cases.

Examination 2 (Weeks 5-8)

Due: Mixed Class Week 10
Weighting: 20%

This examination will assess the material from Weeks 5-8 of the semester. The examination will be held in the first hour of the mixed class in this week.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Explain the role that languages play in software development and describe a spectrum of software languages that are in current use.
  • Express properties of software languages using formal notations.

Assignment 3: Translation

Due: Week 11/12
Weighting: 15%

The third assignment focuses on translating a language into some other form, such as another structured language (e.g., translating a programming language into a lower-level form such as bytecode or assembly language).


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Express properties of software languages using formal notations.
  • Translate formal notations of software language properties into implementations of language processors.
  • Demonstrate that a language processor is operating correctly by construction and use of appropriate test cases.

Examination 3 (Weeks 9-12)

Due: Mixed Class Week 13
Weighting: 20%

This examination will assess the material from Weeks 9-12 of the semester. The examination will be held in the first hour of the mixed class in this week.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Explain the role that languages play in software development and describe a spectrum of software languages that are in current use.
  • Express properties of software languages using formal notations.

Final Examination

Due: Exam Period
Weighting: 0%

The final examination will be a chance to sit any or all of Examinations 1, 2 and 3 again. The final examinations will not be identical to the earlier examinations but will be designed to assess the same material.


This Assessment Task relates to the following Learning Outcomes:
  • Explain the role that languages play in software development and describe a spectrum of software languages that are in current use.
  • Express properties of software languages using formal notations.

Delivery and Resources

CLASSES

Each week of COMP332 has three hours of lecture and a two-hour mixed class. The mixed classes will require a mixture of tutorial-style and practical work. Mixed classes start in Week 1.

REQUIRED AND RECOMMENDED TEXTS AND/OR MATERIALS

There is no required text. We will provide notes or references to freely available materials where relevant.

Students may find it useful to consult one of the many books that are available on the programming languages topic. The following books are among those that are available in the Macquarie University Library:

  • Programming Language Pragmatics. Scott.
  • Principles of programming languages: design, evaluation, and implementation. MacLennan.
  • Programming languages: design and implementation. Pratt and Zelkowitz.
  • Concepts of programming languages. Sebesta.
  • Programming languages: concepts and constructs. Sethi.
  • Introduction to compiler construction. Waite and Carter.
  • Compilers: principles, techniques and tools. Aho, Sethi, and Ullman.
  • Modern compiler implementation in Java. Appel.

UNIT WEBPAGE AND TECHNOLOGY USED AND REQUIRED

COMP332 uses iLearn for delivery of class materials, discussion boards, online selftests, submission of assessment tasks and access to marks and comments. Students should check the iLearn site regularly for unit updates.

Questions regarding the content of this unit, its tutorials or practicals should be posted to the appropriate discussion board on iLearn. In particular, any questions which are of interest to all students in this unit should be posted to one of these discussion boards, so that everyone can benefit from the answers.

The practical work in this unit involves programming in the Scala language (http://www.scala-lang.org) which will give students experience with modern programming language features that we expect to see in mainstream languages in the future.

We will also use the Kiama language processing library (https://bitbucket.org/inkytonik/kiama) that is being developed by our Programming Languages and Verification Research Group. Kiama provides high-level facilities for writing processors such as compilers in Scala and makes it possible for students to implement of a language from scratch within the semester.

Instructions will be provided on how to use Scala and Kiama on the laboratory machines and how to download it for use on your own machines

Unit Schedule

Week

Topic

Lecturer

Assignment Due

Exam

1 Introduction: Unit and Scala Tony Sloane    
2 Syntax Tony Sloane    
3 Names Tony Sloane    
4 Semantic analysis Dom Verity One  
5 Scala for compiler writing Dom Verity    
6 Types Dom Verity   One
7 Transformation; compilation Tony Sloane    
  Lecture Recess - Two Weeks      
8

No lectures or practicals on Monday due to public holiday. Wednesday practical is still on for last minute assignment help.

A special Topic lecture on Web Technical and Programming Languages will be held in the Thursday time slot.

Matt Roberts Two  
9 Subroutines and control abstraction Tony Sloane    
10 Domain-specific Languages Tony Sloane   Two
11 Scripting languages Dom Verity Three  
12 Functional programming Dom Verity    
13 Review, Exam Discussion Dom Verity   Three
Exam Period       One, Two, Three

 

Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central. Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Academic Honesty Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/academic_honesty/policy.html

Assessment Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/assessment/policy_2016.html

Grade Appeal Policy http://mq.edu.au/policy/docs/gradeappeal/policy.html

Complaint Management Procedure for Students and Members of the Public http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/complaint_management/procedure.html​

Disruption to Studies Policy http://www.mq.edu.au/policy/docs/disruption_studies/policy.html The Disruption to Studies Policy is effective from March 3 2014 and replaces the Special Consideration Policy.

In addition, a number of other policies can be found in the Learning and Teaching Category of Policy Central.

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct: https://students.mq.edu.au/support/student_conduct/

Results

Results shown in iLearn, or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit ask.mq.edu.au.

Student Support

Macquarie University provides a range of support services for students. For details, visit http://students.mq.edu.au/support/

Learning Skills

Learning Skills (mq.edu.au/learningskills) provides academic writing resources and study strategies to improve your marks and take control of your study.

Student Enquiry Service

For all student enquiries, visit Student Connect at ask.mq.edu.au

Equity Support

Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Service who can provide appropriate help with any issues that arise during their studies.

IT Help

For help with University computer systems and technology, visit http://www.mq.edu.au/about_us/offices_and_units/information_technology/help/

When using the University's IT, you must adhere to the Acceptable Use of IT Resources Policy. The policy applies to all who connect to the MQ network including students.

Graduate Capabilities

Discipline Specific Knowledge and Skills

Our graduates will take with them the intellectual development, depth and breadth of knowledge, scholarly understanding, and specific subject content in their chosen fields to make them competent and confident in their subject or profession. They will be able to demonstrate, where relevant, professional technical competence and meet professional standards. They will be able to articulate the structure of knowledge of their discipline, be able to adapt discipline-specific knowledge to novel situations, and be able to contribute from their discipline to inter-disciplinary solutions to problems.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Explain the role that languages play in software development and describe a spectrum of software languages that are in current use.
  • Express properties of software languages using formal notations.
  • Translate formal notations of software language properties into implementations of language processors.
  • Demonstrate that a language processor is operating correctly by construction and use of appropriate test cases.

Assessment tasks

  • Assignment 1: Syntax Analysis
  • Examination 1 (Weeks 1-4)
  • Assignment 2:Semantic Analysis
  • Examination 2 (Weeks 5-8)
  • Assignment 3: Translation
  • Examination 3 (Weeks 9-12)
  • Final Examination

Problem Solving and Research Capability

Our graduates should be capable of researching; of analysing, and interpreting and assessing data and information in various forms; of drawing connections across fields of knowledge; and they should be able to relate their knowledge to complex situations at work or in the world, in order to diagnose and solve problems. We want them to have the confidence to take the initiative in doing so, within an awareness of their own limitations.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Express properties of software languages using formal notations.
  • Translate formal notations of software language properties into implementations of language processors.
  • Demonstrate that a language processor is operating correctly by construction and use of appropriate test cases.

Assessment tasks

  • Assignment 1: Syntax Analysis
  • Examination 1 (Weeks 1-4)
  • Assignment 2:Semantic Analysis
  • Examination 2 (Weeks 5-8)
  • Assignment 3: Translation
  • Examination 3 (Weeks 9-12)
  • Final Examination

Creative and Innovative

Our graduates will also be capable of creative thinking and of creating knowledge. They will be imaginative and open to experience and capable of innovation at work and in the community. We want them to be engaged in applying their critical, creative thinking.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Express properties of software languages using formal notations.
  • Translate formal notations of software language properties into implementations of language processors.
  • Demonstrate that a language processor is operating correctly by construction and use of appropriate test cases.

Assessment tasks

  • Assignment 1: Syntax Analysis
  • Examination 1 (Weeks 1-4)
  • Assignment 2:Semantic Analysis
  • Examination 2 (Weeks 5-8)
  • Assignment 3: Translation
  • Examination 3 (Weeks 9-12)
  • Final Examination

Effective Communication

We want to develop in our students the ability to communicate and convey their views in forms effective with different audiences. We want our graduates to take with them the capability to read, listen, question, gather and evaluate information resources in a variety of formats, assess, write clearly, speak effectively, and to use visual communication and communication technologies as appropriate.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Explain the role that languages play in software development and describe a spectrum of software languages that are in current use.
  • Express properties of software languages using formal notations.
  • Translate formal notations of software language properties into implementations of language processors.
  • Demonstrate that a language processor is operating correctly by construction and use of appropriate test cases.

Assessment tasks

  • Assignment 1: Syntax Analysis
  • Examination 1 (Weeks 1-4)
  • Assignment 2:Semantic Analysis
  • Examination 2 (Weeks 5-8)
  • Assignment 3: Translation
  • Examination 3 (Weeks 9-12)
  • Final Examination

Critical, Analytical and Integrative Thinking

We want our graduates to be capable of reasoning, questioning and analysing, and to integrate and synthesise learning and knowledge from a range of sources and environments; to be able to critique constraints, assumptions and limitations; to be able to think independently and systemically in relation to scholarly activity, in the workplace, and in the world. We want them to have a level of scientific and information technology literacy.

This graduate capability is supported by:

Learning outcomes

  • Explain the role that languages play in software development and describe a spectrum of software languages that are in current use.
  • Express properties of software languages using formal notations.
  • Translate formal notations of software language properties into implementations of language processors.
  • Demonstrate that a language processor is operating correctly by construction and use of appropriate test cases.

Assessment tasks

  • Assignment 1: Syntax Analysis
  • Examination 1 (Weeks 1-4)
  • Assignment 2:Semantic Analysis
  • Examination 2 (Weeks 5-8)
  • Assignment 3: Translation
  • Examination 3 (Weeks 9-12)
  • Final Examination

Changes from Previous Offering

There are no major changes since 2016. Some lectures have been slightly rearranged to work around a public holiday. As usual there is a new language as the focus for the assignments.

Assessment Standards

COMP332 will be assessed and graded according to the University assessment and grading policies.

The following general standards of achievement will be used to assess each of the assessment tasks with respect to the letter grades. 

Pass: Can correctly reproduce facts and definitions across a breadth of concepts, but lacks depth of understanding. Can use notations to specify familiar language concepts in ways that are close to those discussed in lectures or notes. Can implement and test the basic features of a programming language similar to examples provided. Uses basic standards for code comprehension such as variable naming or documentation. Adheres to basic standards for presentation of written work. Can produce a basic description of the main aspects of a software system. Can describe basic test cases for software under study.

Credit/Distinction: As for Pass plus: Exhibits breadth and depth of understanding of concepts. Can use terminology accurately in new contexts. Can express ideas in their own words and has an understanding of the limits of their understanding. Can apply formal notations to describe language concepts that have not previously been seen. Can use provided general techniques to implement language concepts whose detailed implementation in code has not previously been discussed. Has well-developed skills for writing comprehensible, modular and well-documented code. Able to describe all or relevant aspects of a software system to an appropriate level of detail. Can articulate the principles behind the design of a suite of test cases.

High Distinction: As for Credit/Distinction plus: Is aware of the context in which the concepts are developed and their limitations. Able to generate and justify principles and hypotheses for existing or new concepts. Can recognise the limitations of formal notations for specifying some language concepts and is able to propose alternatives. Can develop new techniques to implement language concepts beyond those provided. Can critically evaluate aspects of the software system under study and the appropriateness of testing as a method for demonstrating software correctness.

ASSESSMENT PROCESS

These assessment standards will be used to give a numeric mark out of 100 to each assessment submission during marking. The mark will correspond to a letter grade for that task according to the University guidelines. The final mark for the unit will be calculated by combining the marks for all assessment tasks according to the percentage weightings shown in the assessment summary.

Changes since First Published

Date Description
11/09/2017 The topic name in Week 9 was wrong so it has been corrected.
25/07/2017 The unit schedule was updated to include more information about the special topic lecture which will delivered by Matt Roberts in Week 8.