Announcement Study Group "Essentials of Programming Languages"

Discussion in 'Python' started by bobueland, Jan 19, 2006.

  1. bobueland

    bobueland Guest

    Since there have been some interest, a reading group has been started

    I must warn you that the programming language used in "Essentials of
    Programming Languages" is Scheme, which is variant of Lisp. Now this
    course is not a course in Scheme but about powerful programming
    techniques, but Scheme is used to illustrate many points. Also it can't
    harm to know a bit of Lisp. As Eric Steven Raymond said in "How To
    Become A Hacker" (

    "LISP is worth learning for a different reason - the profound
    enlightenment experience you will have when you finally get it. That
    experience will make you a better programmer for the rest of your days,
    even if you never actually use LISP itself a lot."

    Cheers Bob

    This is a part of the Welcome mesage given at the link above

    Hello fellow programmers :)

    We are starting the virtual "Principles of Programming Languages"
    study group. The physical course is given at neu (short for
    Northeastern University) is described on
    The course is starting 17:th January 2006. We, the unfortunate ones,
    which do not have the possibility to attend the physical course will
    study virtually at distance. The instructor at neu is Mitchell Wand,
    the co-author of "Essentials of Programming Languages" (EoPL for
    short), the textbook that will be used.

    The book is not free so you have to buy it :(. Edition 3 is not
    available but it's OK with edition 2. It seems that some material will
    be put on the neu web-site, and maybe it will be
    possible to follow along without the book, but I doubt it. The textbook
    is a classic.

    Here's what one reader (Ravi Mohan) of the book said:

    "By the time you finish the book you will have built interpreters which
    demonstrate recursion, call-by-value/reference/need and name semantics,
    class based and prototype based OO, type inference, continuations etc .

    Very "Hands on" . You are taught how programming languages work by
    actually building intrepreters (in other words an Operational Semantics
    is used). This is the best way to learn .

    This is an incredible book and should be part of the library of every
    programmer interested in learning how languages work. As far as i know
    there isn't a single other book that can do better in conveying how
    various features of languages really work and interact .

    While this book may not be suitable for an undergraduate course of
    study (withoout an excellent teacher to help students get over the
    difficult bits) it is ideal for the self taught programmer."

    The reading group pace will be at least one week behind of the physical
    class. We do *not* want to discuss/share homework solutions until after
    the homework is due. That way students in the physical class won't be
    tempted to get answers from the reading group. If the professor has a
    problem with students getting answers on the Internet, then he might
    stop making his course public.
    bobueland, Jan 19, 2006
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