CIS 505/705
(Introduction to) Programming Languages
Fall 2023

This syllabus is subject to (hopefully only minor) modifications


This course (3 credit hours) teaches important concepts involved in the design and implementation of programming languages.


You should have successfully completed the courses (or their equivalent) CIS705 is not available for credit to students who already have credit for CIS505.

Expected Outcome
Students should know and understand important concepts involved in the design and implementation of programming languages.

Course Overview
For details, see the course schedule (separate document).

To help master the material, the students will write a number of interpreters (and parsers) for various languages.

The implementation will be done in languages allowing a variety of paradigms:


For each class,


Weekly Schedule

EventLocationMondayTuesday WednesdayThursdayFriday
11:30am-12:20pm 11:30am-12:20pm11:30am-12:20pm
Office Hours
Engineering 1118 9:00-11:00am 10:30-11:30am
Office Hours
Engineering 2176 12:30--1:30pm 12:30--1:30pm 9:00--10:00am
Office Hours
Engineering 2179 2:00--3:30pm 2:00--3:30pm
Office Hours
Engineering 1118 ??? ??? ??? ??? ???


Use the email address for all questions about lectures, homeworks, etc. Do not email the TA 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 us to give).

Deliverables and Grading

will be open book and open notes, with the third comprehensive but with much emphasis on what was covered in the last part of the course.

If you do not show up for an exam, then

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. The lowest project score, among the first four projects, will be disregarded.

are minor exercises (there will be 5 such), typically given when we start on a new language (paradigm) so as to make you acquainted with it.

If you do not submit a lab on time, you'll receive a zero for that lab, unless you can document a valid excuse.

The lowest lab score will be disregarded.

are posted after each class (when new material has been introduced) and are due one week later. The three lowest quiz scores will be disregarded.


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).

That work will count around 15% of the total course score. (The remaining 85% will be distributed according to the weights used for CIS505 students, so that Exam 1 counts 11.9%, etc.)

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

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.

Drop Policy
It is your responsibility to drop the course if you are enrolled but decide not to complete the course; there are no "automatic" drops due to nonattendance.

If you think the instructor or the TA has 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).

Various Statements

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.

If you are in doubt about what is permissible, please ask the instructor.

Statement Regarding Students with Disabilities

At K-State it is important that every student has access to course content and the means to demonstrate course mastery. Students with disabilities may benefit from services including accommodations provided by the Student Access Center. Disabilities can include physical, learning, executive functions, and mental health. You may register at the Student Access Center ( or to learn more contact:
Manhattan/Olathe/Global Campus - Student Access Center
Students already registered with the Student Access Center please request your Letters of Accommodation early in the semester to provide adequate time to arrange your approved academic accommodations. Once SAC approves your Letter of Accommodation it will be e-mailed to you, and your instructor(s) for this course. Please follow up with your instructor to discuss how best to implement the approved accommodations.

Expectations for Classroom Conduct

All student activities in the University, including this course, are governed by the Student Judicial Conduct Code as outlined in the Student Governing Association By Laws, Article V, Section 3, number 2. Students who engage in behavior that disrupts the learning environment may be asked to leave the class.

Mandatory Statement on Mutual Respect and Inclusion in K-State Teaching and Learning Spaces

At K-State, faculty and staff are committed to creating and maintaining an inclusive and supportive learning environment for students from diverse backgrounds and perspectives. K-State courses, labs, and other virtual and physical learning spaces promote equitable opportunity to learn, participate, contribute, and succeed, regardless of age, race, color, ethnicity, nationality, genetic information, ancestry, disability, socioeconomic status, military or veteran status, immigration status, Indigenous identity, gender identity, gender expression, sexuality, religion, culture, as well as other social identities.

Faculty and staff are committed to promoting equity and believe the success of an inclusive learning environment relies on the participation, support, and understanding of all students. Students are encouraged to share their views and lived experiences as they relate to the course or their course experience, while recognizing they are doing so in a learning environment in which all are expected to engage with respect to honor the rights, safety, and dignity of others in keeping with the K-State Principles of Community

If you feel uncomfortable because of comments or behavior encountered in this class, you may bring it to the attention of your instructor, advisors, and/or mentors. If you have questions about how to proceed with a confidential process to resolve concerns, please contact the Student Ombudsperson Office. Violations of the student code of conduct can be reported here If you experience bias or discrimination, it can be reported here

Mandatory Statement Regarding Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Harassment

Kansas State University is committed to maintaining academic, housing, and work environments that are free of discrimination, harassment, and sexual harassment. Instructors support the University's commitment by creating a safe learning environment during this course, free of conduct that would interfere with your academic opportunities. Instructors also have a duty to report any behavior they become aware of that potentially violates the University's policy prohibiting discrimination, harassment, and sexual harassment (PPM 3010).

If a student is subjected to discrimination, harassment, or sexual harassment, they are encouraged to make a non-confidential report to the University's Office for Institutional Equity (OIE) using the online reporting form. Incident disclosure is not required to receive resources at K-State. Reports that include domestic and dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking, should be considered for reporting by the complainant to the Kansas State University Police Department or the Riley County Police Department. Reports made to law enforcement are separate from reports made to OIE. A complainant can choose to report to one or both entities. Confidential support and advocacy can be found with the K-State Center for Advocacy, Response, and Education (CARE). Confidential mental health services can be found with Lafene Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). Academic support can be found with the Office of Student Life (OSL). OSL is a non-confidential resource. A comprehensive list of resources is available here. If you have questions about non-confidential and confidential resources, please contact OIE at or (785) 532-6220.

Copyright notification

Copyright 2023 (Torben Amtoft) as to this syllabus and all lectures. During this course students are prohibited from selling notes to or being paid for taking notes by any person or commercial firm without the express written permission of the professor teaching this course. In addition, students in this class are not authorized to provide class notes or other class-related materials to any other person or entity, other than sharing them directly with another student taking the class for purposes of studying, without prior written permission from the professor teaching this course.


Some 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.