CMSC 430, Fall 2012

Introduction to Compilers

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Name Office E-mail Office Hours
(also available by appointment)
Jeff Foster 4129 AVW jfoster at cs MW 3:15-4:30pm
Chang Liu 1112 AVW liuchang at cs Tu 10:30-11:30am, Th 10:30-11:30am, Fr 2:30-4:30pm

Extra office hours:

The normal office hours schedule will continue until the final exam, and we will hold some extra office hours right before the final:


Today's programming languages give programmers unprecedented power and flexibility, and yet sometimes they are still not enough. There are many occasions when it is possible to encode the solution to a programming problem in an existing language, but at the cost of significant effort, loss of elegance and clarity, and reduced maintainability. In these cases, often the best way to solve a problem is to develop a new language that makes the solution easy to express correctly, succinctly, and maintainably. Examples of such languages range from "little" ones like Make, XML, JSON, YAML, Wiki, bash, Windows .ini files, autoconf, etc., to "big" ones like Perl, Python, Ruby, PHP, JavaScript, R, MATLAB, etc. All of these languages were invented because existing languages just weren't good enough, and in the course of your career, you also may find yourself needing to invent a new programming language!

The goal of CMSC 430 is to arm students with the ability to design, implement, and extend a programming language. Throughout the course, students will design and implement several related languages, and will explore parsing, syntax querying, dataflow analysis, compilation to bytecode, type systems, and language interoperation.

Lecture Location 2107 CSIC
Lecture Time MW 2:00-3:15pm
Midterm Exam 1 Wed, Oct 10, in class
Midterm Exam 2 Wed, Nov 28, in class
Final Exam Mon, Dec 17, 1:30-3:30pm, 2107 CSIC
Textbooks There are no required or recommended texts. See the resources page for useful online links.