Archive for the ‘CPSC 401’ Category

CPSC 401; February 18, 2010

Monday, February 22nd, 2010
CPSC 401 Class Portrait, February 18, 2010

CPSC 401 Class Portrait, February 18, 2010

Test today on the material in chapters 1-8.  This is a writing intensive course so the test had a number of essay questions. I gave the students the essay questions before the exam so they would time to develop well-thought out answers. The resutls bore that out; many of the essays were very good.

The picture doesn’t show everyone on the class since they all hadn’t show up when I took the picture. There is another with more students but I really liked the looks on the faces of the ones  in this picture.

CPSC 401; February 16, 2010

Monday, February 22nd, 2010
CPSC 401 class portrait; February 16, 2010

CPSC 401 class portrait; February 16, 2010

So we had  this idea of representing the class as a binary tree. The root (Will) is in the back. Leaves int he front. Each student links to its children by putting an arm (left or right) o the shoulder of a child node. As good of an idea  that was, it turned out to be difficult to photograph.

We went over information on types and sample questions for the test that would be given the next class period.

CPSC 401; February 9, 2010

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

CPSC 401 Class Portrait, February 9, 2010The class portrait for February 9, 2010. We’ve ad lots of snow and they chose “Too Much Snow” as their words.  This class seems much more comfortable using the letters to make up words than my CPSC 110 class. Is it because they know each other better? As a group they are older, too.

More snow on Wednesday and Thursday and I didn’t get in to class on Thursday.

CPSC 401; February 2, 2010

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010
CPSC 401, class portrait, Feb 2, 2010

CPSC 401, class portrait, Feb 2, 2010

Class arranged themselves by height.

Started class with an exchange of rough drafts. Everyone got a red pencil. The goal was to give helpful advice to a peer and to reduce word content by 10%. I received a report from one student that the exercise was not helpful. That student is making an appointment to see me regarding the paper before it is handed in.

We talked a little about types. I felt stymied by the lack of working markers. I’ll try to remember to bring markers with me next time.

Hopefully we’ll get the opportunity to discuss chapter 6 and chapter 7 on Thursday. I plan on giving an ML assignment on Thursday.

CPSC 401; January 26, 2010

Monday, February 1st, 2010
CPSC 401 class portrait by age

CPSC 401 class portrait by age

The portrait on the left was taken on January 26, 2010 with the students arranging themselves by age. The older students are in the back row, or so the class told me.

Several students were absent. I hope they are not cutting for no good reason. The material will get out of their reach relatively soon. In any case it is generally better for all concerned when all are present.

The students are starting to work on their first essay, drawn from the questions raised in   Paul Graham’s essay, “ The Hundred-Year Language .” On this day students brought in an outline for their essay along with a list of works they might cite in their work. Students were grouped by the question they were going to use as a basis for their essay.  At our next meeting, February 2, students are to bring in  a rough draft of their work. This will be used in a peer review exercise.

Students also were given some time to work on exercises in ML. Students were put in groups of two and each given two problems, one relatively easy and one ore difficult. None of the groups solved both in the 15 – 20 minutes they had to work on them. Students were given an assignment of completing 4 of the six ‘difficult’ exercises in Chapter 5.

CPSC 401; January 21 2010

Sunday, January 24th, 2010
CPSC 401 class portrait  January 21, 2010

CPSC 401 class portrait January 21, 2010

This was the first Thursday we met. I  gone to Virginia Higher Education Advocacy Day the previous Thursday.

After taking a quiz on material on the sequence from source code to execution and binding times. A few questions on the quiz came from the previous chapters.

Writing and the first writing assignment took center stage after that. The assignment is detailed at
On Tuesday students will bring a list of at least 3 references for the question they will write about as well as an outline of what they will write.

Finally we got to discussing and showing examples of working with ML. We focused on looking at the first two tutorials in  “A Gentle Introduction to ML” by Andrew Cumming of Napier University in Edinburgh.  On Tuesday students will bring the answers to the self assessment section of each of those tutorials. We’ll discuss them nd then try some group work in the lab working on the problems in Chapter 5.  I haven’t told the class yet, but I’ll be away on Thursday for interviews related to my work on the CAS Dean search committee.

Here are a couple of pictures of  the class while they were taking the quiz.

CPSC 401 taking Quiz 1

CPSC 401 taking Quiz 1

CPSC 401 Taking quiz 1

CPSC 401 Taking quiz 1

CPSC 401. January 19, 2010

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010
CPSC401 January 19, 2010

CPSC401 January 19, 2010

The picture at left shows the people in class  on Tuesday, January 19, 2010. Theree others are enrolled. One of those has not been to class once this semester.

HW was due on Tuesday, see for a description.

In class, we went over the topics in Chapter 4 of the text – support provided by a language system going from source through execution and the topic of binding times. Groups of students provided explanations of some terms. Having students explain the key points of each chapter  is the way I prefer to go through this material. The class also did some group work on the exercises for Chapter 4. The answers will be posted in the Course Documents portion of the Blackboard section for the class.

On Thursday we will go over the writing assignment, and then start to talk about using ML.

I had planned to start talking about a writing assignment, but we never got there. So that will be postponed one day.

CSPC 401. 01/12/2010

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010 / CC BY-NC 2.0
Programming languages, mostly

On the first day we distributed the syllabus and discussed several programming paradigms with demonstrations of using ml and prolog on All of this is available through links on the web page for January 12, 2002 on the accessible from the CPSC 401 home page.

We won’t have class on Thursday, January 14, 2010. I will be a Higher Education Advocacy Day in Richmond, VA.

For next Tuesday, read Chapters 1 through 4 of the text. You’ll find that the material in Chapters 2 and 3 is very similar to the concepts we discussed in CPSC 336 regarding grammars, syntax, and semantics. Turn in solutions to the following exercises.  Send them to Ackermann by email.

  • Page 24. Exercise 1. h,i,j,k
  • Page 25. Exercise 2 corresponding to h,i,j,k of Exercise 1
  • Page 25. Exercise 3 corresponding to h,i,j,k of Exercise 1
  • Page 39 and 40. Exercise 1
  • Page 40. Exercise 3
  • page 40. Exercise 4.

Finally, please read Chapter 4 for class on Tuesday so that you are prepared to discuss IDEs for two different languages, the terms:

  • virtual machine
  • delayed linking
  • profiling
  • dynamic compilation,

and so that we can go over answers to exercises 2 and 3 of Chapter 4.

As always, send me you comments and questions.

The effective exploitation of his powers of abstraction must be regarded as one of the most vital activities of a competent programmer.