will introduce you to the principles of the design, evaluation,
and implementation of computer programming languages. As such it
is not a crash course to teach you to program in a half dozen
new dialects, although you will find learning new languages
easier as a result of this study. Our emphasis will be on the
kinds of features languages might have, how they influence a
programmer's thought process, and how they may be implemented on
(The above paragraphs are from Dr. Ray Zarling's CS 4100 course
description, with permission.)
Canvas Learning Management System,
where some class activities, quizzes, and final paper submission to Turnitin.com will be done.
Zoom class link information
Document scanning apps for smartphones that past students have recommended:
CamScanner, Genius Scan, Adobe Scan. (Note that the professor doesn't care if the
apps leave watermarks on your scans, as long as the documents are readable.)
Textbook is Principles
of Programming Languages: Design, Evaluation, and Implementation
(Third Edition), by Bruce J. MacLennan
Instructor: Dr. Megan Thomas
Office: Demergasso-Bava Hall 279
Web Page: www.cs.csustan.edu/~mthomas
Best way to contact Dr. Thomas:
Email email@example.com Please put "CS4100" in the subject
line of the email.
of the "Golden Four" lower division GE courses, and
Warning: I reserve the right to make changes to the
syllabus at any time during the term by announcing them in class
and on my web page.
Grading and Policies
Final grades will be based on projects and assignments, a term
project and exams. A plus and minus grading scale wll be used to
assign final grades. Except for designated collaborative activities
in connection with the project, all writing and other work you
present for credit must be entirely your own, or developed on your
own in consultation with the course instructor or other Department
faculty. Penalties for representing other people's work as your own
will range from No Credit on an assignment through failure of the
course and possible University disciplinary action. Over the course
of the term we will discuss these issues in more detail, but it is
your responsibility to seek clarification and understand the
parameters involved. Your work may be electronically checked for
plagiarism using Turnitin.com.
Projects and Assignments:
Homework will usually require you to organize you thoughts about some aspect
of the material we are studying, and to write a carefully crafted
and thoughtful paper. Some parts of your assignments will be used
only for class discussion and not turned in, but usually they will
be graded. In aggregate, all homework you turn in will comprise 30%
of you final grade. Some of the questions will require problem
solving or programming skills, but programming segments or other
technical language will generally be in service of some larger point
supported by prose arguments. Essays must be prepared on a word
processor. Late assignments will be accepted unless you are notified
otherwise, but will suffer a grading penalty dependent on the degree
addition to these assignments, you will be required to write a term
project. Specific requirements and a timetable will be distributed
early in the term. The final draft of the project will be due at the time normally
scheduled for the final. It will not be accepted after that time.
The project grade will be based upon earlier writing activities as well
as the final product and will, in aggregate, count as 30% of your
final course grade.
Submission of Projects and
All projects and assignments (unless otherwise
stated) are to be turned as follows:
1. A hard copy is to be turned in at the beginning of class on the
2. An electronic copy is to be uploaded to the CSHomework System
by midnight on the due date.
There will be two
exams given during the course of the semester, approximately in the
sixth and the last weeks of the semester. The exact time of the
exams will be announced a week in advance of each exam. Each exam
will account for 20% of your final grade.
Projects and Assignments
(The above four paragraphs borrowed liberally from Dr. Ray Zarling's
CS 4100 course description, with permission.)
The work you do for this course will be
your own, unless otherwise specified. You are not to submit other
people's work and represent it as your own. I consider academic
honesty to be at the core of the University's activities in
education and research. Academic honesty is expected at all times
in this course.
Regular class attendance is expected;
attendance for certain activities will be required. Students are
responsible for all announcements and in-class discussion.
Cell Phone Policy
If you attempt to use your cell phone or leave it on
during an exam, you will be considered to have finished your test,
and I will collect your exam at that time. Exceptions may be
made only if you discuss your situation with me prior to the start
of that day's class.
Audio / Video Recordings
Until Oct. 1, classes will be via Zoom and
video recordings of class meetings will be made available by the instructor,
via the Panopto application in Canvas. Be aware that, while Zoom will
attempt to automatically caption the lectures, homonyms confuse the
software that creates the captions.
The recordings are only for use of students in Fall 2021 CS 4100, and should
not be shared with anyone outside the class.
When in physical classes, audio
or video recording (or any
other form of recording) of classes is not permitted unless
expressly allowed by the faculty member as indicated in the course
syllabus or as a special accommodation for students who are
currently registered with the Disability Resource Services Program
and are approved for this accommodation. Recordings allowed as
special accommodations are for the personal use of the DRS-approved
student, and may only be distributed to other persons who have been
approved by the DRS program. Faculty may require the student sign an
Audio / Video Recording Agreement, which they may keep for their
University Writing Center
The Writing Center offers free individual
and small group tutoring to students from all disciplines and at
all levels of proficiency. Dedicated to encouraging dialogue
among writers and helping students become successful writers,
the Writing Center provides a supportive, judgment-free
atmosphere in which tutors share strategies and experiences at
each stage of the writing process. Graduate and undergraduate
tutors are evolving writers who, through experience and
training, continue to develop their abilities as tutors and writers.
The Writing Center website is located at
Phone: Writing Center: (209) 667-3465
- Student Health Center
- Health Center Building / 209-667-3396 / www.csustan.edu/health-center
Medical care, health education, disease prevention, laboratory testing, physicals, women's and reproductive health, flu shots, immunizations.
- Disability Resource Services
- Library Annex 24 / 209-667-3159 / www.csustan.edu/drs
Supports students and arranges accommodations for students with disabilities, including disabilities related to learning, vision, mobility, hearing, autism, or chronic or temporary health factors.
- Psychological Counseling Services
- Student Services Annex 1 / 209-667-3381 / www.csustan.edu/counseling
Confidential individual personal counseling and group/wellness workshops to help students deal with stress, anxiety, depression, grief, relationships.
- Diversity Center
- Library Annex 6 and 7 / 209-667-3511 / www.csustan.edu/diversity-center
Workshops, student space, reading nook, complimentary coffee and tea, social justice library, conference room space.
- Undocumented Student Services
- Library Annex 6 / 209-667-3519 / www.csustan.edu/dreamers
Walk-in advising, workshops, legal services, DACA renewal, scholarships, peer support, family and community engagement.
- Academic Success Center
- MSR 210 / 209-667-3700 / www.csustan.edu/ASC
Drop-in advising for general education, university requirements, undeclared majors, academic probation, and California Promise.
- Learning Commons
- Library Annex 14 / 209-667-3642 / www.csustan.edu/learning-commons
Tutoring (walk-in and regular appointments), supplemental instruction, WPST, writing center.
- Career and Professional Development
- MSR 230 / 209-667-3661 / www.csustan.edu/career
Career coaching, workshops, resume building, business attire, and more.
Web Sites for Paper Sources, and Writing Advice
Paper Topic Ideas, Sources
- TIOBE Index of popular programming languages, one of many lists that try to identify the currently most popular programming languages.
- Top 10 Programming Languages: Spectrum's 2021 Ranking (Aug 2021)
- "Teach Foundational Language Principles" (May 2015) - An article wherein you may find paper topic ideas.
- "Developers: These are the programming languages that pay the most", ZDNet.com, 3 Sept 2020.
- "Go Language Tops List of In-Demand Software Skills",
IEEE Job Site, 18 Feb 2020. - An article wherein you may find paper topic ideas.
- Places to find sources for your papers
- ACM Digital Library (freely accessible from campus; visit via CSU Stanislaus Library web site to access from off-campus)
- Safari Tech Books Online (visit via CSU Stanislaus Library web site to access full text of books - scroll down the page to find the link to Safari)
- ACM SIGPLAN: SIGPLAN is the Programming Languages group within the ACM, so their web site lists many of the PL-specific conferences,
along with winners of Best Paper awards and other possibly useful information. You would still need to visit the ACM Digital Library to download the papers themselves.
- Numerous other reputable sources of CS papers exist (IEEE, Usenix, etc),
but the sources listed here are most likely to contain programming languages work useful for this class.
Computer Science & Information Systems from the CSU Stanislaus Library
Lecture Extra Information
- "Rob Pike - 'Concurrency Is Not Parallelism'" (31 minutes, 2013)
Rob Pike is one of the creators of the Go programming language. (Ken Thompson is one
of the others. Created the B language, direct precursor to C.)
- "Understanding Apple's SSL/TLS Bug"(Feb 2014, imore.com) - uh, oh, goto...
- "XX Factor: The Woman Who Put Man on the Moon", a podcast by
If you have ever wondered who started the use of the term 'software engineer,' well,
this podcast will answer that question.
Computing Conversations video playlist of interviews by
Charles Severance, for IEEE Computer.
Some interviews are with programming language creators.
- Historical Computers
- "The first one I ever programmed" (personal reflections on the IBM 650)
- The IBM 650 Magnetic Drum Calculator
- Univac I and IBM 702:
here is a bigger picture of the IBM 702, and, for comparison, the Univac I,
a 1950's computer that was manufactured a few years earlier.
- "Memory and Storage",
Timeline of Computer History, Computer History Museum. I draw your attention the
RAMAC hard disk -- the world's first hard drive, with a whopping 5 megabytes of
storage. Or the Apollo Guidance Computer memory -- hand-woven, storing
72 kilobytes. (To the moon and back, on 72 KB!)
- Writing Advice
Interesting Articles (or podcast episodes) for CS Majors
"These old programming languages are still critical to big companies. But nobody wants to learn them",
TechRepublic, by Owen Hughes on June 30, 2021
- "4 strategies for managing your job search anxiety" (Fast Company, 4 May 2021)
- "Systems Engineer, Web App Developer: Best Entry-Level Jobs in Tech?" (Dice.com, 27 April 2021)
- "The 10 Best States For Tech Job Openings", CRN.com, 15 Apr 2021.
- "9 Programming Languages That Employers Want and Pay High Salaries," 31 March 2021, dice.com
- "ACM Turing Award Honors Innovators Who Shaped the Foundations of Programming Language Compilers and Algorithms: Columbia's Aho and Stanford's Ullman Developed Tools and Fundamental Textbooks Used by Millions of Software Programmers around the World," ACM, March 2021.
- "LinkedIn: Top 15 In-Demand Jobs in 2021", 14 Jan 2021. (Scroll down. Keep scrolling.)
- "Episode 434: Steven Skiena on Preparing for the Data Structures and Algorithm Job Interview" of the Software Engineering Radio podcast. (10 Nov 2020)
- "10 surprising hot spots for software developer jobs in the US" by TechRepublic (27 Aug 2020)
- "8 tips to land a startup job straight out of college: an exclusive interview with Greylock" by Thinknum.com (8 Oct 2020)
- "Students Need to Know What Success in Computing Looks Like, Starting from Realistic Expectations" ,
Blogs@ACM, 12 Sept 2020.
- "The top tech jobs in 2020 and the skills you must have to secure them", Ladders, 16 Sept 2020.
- "How to succeed in your first 90 days of a new job when you start remote", The Enterprisers Project, 10 Sept 2020.
- Curious about what an interview for a software engineering job might involve? Listen to: "Episode 412: Sam Gavis-Hughson on Technical Interviews", 10 June 2020, IEEE Software Engineering Radio
- "Our Government Runs on a 60-Year-Old Coding Language, and Now It's Falling Apart: Retired engineers are coming to the rescue," (OneZero.medium.com, 7 Apr 2020) -- you never know when knowledge of old programming languages will be useful.
- Emojicode, the all emoji programming language. (Not suitable as a final paper topic.)
(The contents of this web page are borrowed liberally from
Dr. Melanie Martin's CS 4100 course description, with permission.)