CS 152: Programming Languages

Prof. Stephen Chong
Spring 2015

Lectures: Tu,Th 10am-11:30am
Location: Maxwell Dworkin G125.


Course information

This course is an introduction to the theory, design, and implementation of programming languages. Topics covered in this course include: formal semantics of programming languages (operational, axiomatic, denotational, and translational), type systems, higher-order functions and lambda calculus, laziness, continuations, dynamic types, monads, objects, modules, concurrency, and communication.

See the lecture schedule for more detailed information on topics covered.

Course staff

See below for Office Hours.

All questions and issues related to assignments, course content, etc., should be sent to or discussed on Piazza. Questions related to grades, special consideration, etc. can be sent directly to Prof. Chong. In general, sending email to individual course staff will delay a response. Note that course staff may take up to 48 hours to respond to email and Piazza.

Time and place

Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:00am-11:30am, in Maxwell Dworkin G125.


Computer Science 51. Also recommended is Computer Science 121. Students must have good programming skills, be very comfortable with recursion, proofs, basic mathematical ideas and notations, including sets, relations, functions, and induction. See the schedule for some suggested background reading on some of these concepts. Feel free to contact the instructor if you have questions about the requirements or other aspects of the course.

Two points to emphasize: (1) this is not an introduction to programming; students should already know how to program, ideally in at least couple of languages. (2) you must be very comfortable with recursion, proofs, basic mathematical ideas and notations, including sets, relations, functions, and induction.

Homeworks, exams, and grading

There will be an in-class midterm and a final exam. There will be approximately 9 homework assignments during the semester. Some of the assignments will contain a programming component in OCaml and Haskell and maybe some other languages. Prior knowledge of these languages is not required.

Your grade will be determined by a weighted average of your scores on homework assignments, the midterm exam, the final exam, and class participation. The percentage breakdown (roughly and subject to change) is 50% homework assignments, 20% midterm, 25% final exam, and 5% participation (which includes attendance and participation in class, section, and office hours, and contributing to online discussion in Piazza.

Extension school

CS 152 is offered through the Extension School as CSCI E-152. Information specific to Extension School students can be found on the Extension Students page.


There is no required textbook for the course. In most cases, the class materials should suffice. The instructor will provide written lecture notes where helpful.

See the Resources page for additional material that you can examine.


See here for more information.


Section is Mondays 4pm-5pm, in Pierce 209 (recorded) and Tuesdays 5pm-6pm, in Maxwell-Dworkin 323. Section attendance is not required. Sections will, for the most part, focus on worked examples and exercises to consolidate material covered recently in class. You should feel free to come to section with questions. More information can be found here.

Office hours


See here for more information.

Late penalties, collaboration, and other course policies

See here for more information.