CIS 505/705
(Introduction to) Programming Languages
Fall 2021


This course teaches important concepts involved in the design and implementation of programming languages.


While we strongly encourage in-person class participation, all necessarily material will be available on Canvas.


Course Schedule (click on link)

Weekly Schedule

EventLocationMondayTuesday WednesdayThursdayFriday
Office Hours
Office Hours
995 6721 9644
Office Hours
Office Hours
Office Hours
692 983 6958


Use the email address for all questions about lectures, homeworks, etc.
Do not email the TAs or instructor directly (unless there is a very good reason), and do not use Canvas messaging to contact us.

We make efforts to keep up with email, even though we may not check our inboxes all the time (to decrease disruption of productivity, the instructor usually reads his email only twice or thrice a day). It is our goal that you should expect an email answer no later than on the next business day. So if you send an email on Friday, we will aim to get back to you the next day the university holds classes (which will typically be Monday), and often even earlier.

For questions (or comments) of general interest, we strongly encourage that you post in the Canvas discussion forum so that also other students will benefit from the answers. We even encourage you to answer questions from other students (of course you should not give more hints towards solutions than you would reasonably expect the instructor to give).

Course Material

Software Tools

We shall use 3 languages, illustrating diverse paradigms:
Standard ML
which can be downloaded from which also contains links to documentation
which is documented in
where we shall use SWI-Prolog from

Additional information sources

The uploaded lecture notes will provide all the material needed to successfully complete the course.
Still, you may benefit from some optional readings:

Elements of ML Programming by Jeffrey D. Ullman, 2nd edition (based on Standard ML '97).
The author is an excellent textbook writer.
Programming Languages: Application and Interpretation, Shriram Krishnamurthi (2nd edition).
This online textbook provided much inspiration to the instructor when he first prepared for this course.
CIS505 Lecture Notes: Introduction to Programming-Language Paradigms, David Schmidt.
This online textbook is for reference only; it provides an excellent perspective.

Objective and Topics

Students should know and understand important concepts, such as scope and types, involved in the design and implementation of programming languages.

Graduate work

To merit graduate credit, CIS705 students must towards the end of the semester do some extra work, to be specified later
(in previous semesters, they had to read and summarize a research paper).

Also, the exams (and some projects) may be somewhat more challenging than for undergraduate students.


CIS505 students:
CIS705 students:
The graduate work after Thanksgiving will count around 15% of the total score.

The remaining 85% will be distributed between projects, labs, quizzes and exams, according to the weights used for CIS505 students (so that Exam 1 counts 10.2%, etc).

Final letter grades are not based on strict percentage cutoffs but are "curved" by taking into account the difficulty of the exercises and exams.
As a rule of thumb, however, you should expect (cut-offs may be a bit higher for CIS705 students than for CIS505 students) In general, my approach to grading is expressed well by this piece by S.A. Miller.

Programming Assignments

are due regularly and are to be submitted through Canvas. There are two kinds:
which are major exercises (there will be 5 such); the aim is that you appreciate some of the challenges involved in the implementation of various programming languages, and that you apply standard techniques to solve them
which are minor exercises (there will be 6 such), typically given when we start on a new language (paradigm) so as to make you acquainted with it.


will be open book/notes, given in class, with the final (third) comprehensive (but with some emphasis on the latter part of the course).


If you think the instructor or the TAs have made an error when grading your test or your homework, you are of course very welcome to ask for clarification. But complaints about judgment calls, like how much credit to give for a partially correct solution, are not encouraged (it is like arguing balls and strikes).

Academic Honesty

Kansas State University has an Honor and Integrity System based on personal integrity, which is presumed to be sufficient assurance that, in academic matters, one's work is performed honestly and without unauthorized assistance. Undergraduate and graduate students, by registration, acknowledge the jurisdiction of the Honor and Integrity System. The policies and procedures of the Honor and Integrity System apply to all full and part-time students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate courses on-campus, off-campus, and via distance learning. A component vital to the Honor and Integrity System is the inclusion of the Honor Pledge which applies to all assignments, examinations, or other course work undertaken by students. The Honor Pledge is implied, whether or not it is stated: "On my honor, as a student, I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid on this academic work." A grade of XF can result from a breach of academic honesty. The F indicates failure in the course; the X indicates the reason is an Honor Pledge violation.

You are very welcome to discuss the course material, as well as specific questions, with your fellow students. However, all submitted answers must be your own work:

If you are in doubt about what is permissible, please ask me. I very much hope that it will not be necessary to file any honor pledge violation reports during the semester!

Other Administrative Issues


Much of the material presented in this course was developed over the last several years, and by several people; in addition to the instructor, in particular John Hatcliff, David Schmidt, Sam Procter, and Gary Leavens. They all deserve credit for the merits of this course. The instructor must take the sole blame for any deficiencies in the material.