1 General Information

Instructor: David Van Horn (dvanhorn)

Location: CSI 3118, Tu & Th 3:30–4:45pm.

Office hours: Wed 1:30–3:30pm 3439 AVW, or by appointment.

Prerequisites: The course assumes that you know how to design (recursive) programs (systematically) and that you have encountered inductive proofs.

In case you have doubts, consider reading How to Design Programs.

For a PhD student, “to read” means to read and solve the exercises and if you can’t, read the section.

Understanding the sections labeled “Designing ...” is a key to this course. The above is not the only approach to explicit and systematic design of programs. It is quite possible that you have acquired the necessary background via alternative approaches.

Problem sets: There will be problem sets due approximately every two weeks (although the first problem set is due on 1/30!).

The problem sets will serve to reinforce the technical material. Some problems will ask you to solve paper and pencil problems; for others you will use the PLT Redex modeling environment, which comes with the Racket programming language; and for yet others, you may have to program in your favorite programming language. In addition, some problem sets come include writing assignments, because half a PhD student’s work is to articulate ideas in writing.

Research project: In order to integrate what you have learned during the semester, you will work on a project during the semester. I will propose topics for the project after a couple of weeks. With my approval, you are welcome to propose your own project; collect project ideas during the first few weeks as you get to know how the course works.

You will present the results of your project during the lecture time of the last (two) weeks of the semester. Your presentation should be an extension of your memo with your results translated into an oral format. You have 30 minutes for your presentation, 15 minutes per student. You will answer questions for around 10 minutes. This is similar to the common conference presentation constraint.

Partners: You will work in pairs for the problem sets and the project. The pairings will change over the course of the semester. For the project you may choose your own partner, enrollment permitting.

PhD research isn’t about individual work only; you must learn to collaborate with others.

Exams: We may have some. Perhaps not.

Right to modifications: I reserve the right to make changes to the above at any time during the course. This is the first time I am teaching this course; things are bound to emerge over the semester that will require structural changes to the course. Stay limber.


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