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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Informatics : Informatics

Undergraduate Course: Types and Semantics for Programming Languages (INFR11114)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Informatics CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryType systems and semantics are mathematical tools for precisely describing aspects of programming language. A type system imposes constraints on legal programs in order to guarantee their safe execution, whilst a semantics specifies what a program will do when executed. This course gives an introduction to the main ideas and methods of type systems and semantics. This enables a deeper understanding of existing programming languages, as well as the ability to design and specify new language features.
Course description *Inductive de finitions and proof by induction
*Untyped and simply-typed lambda calculus. Variable binding.
*Small step and big step semantics.
*Progress and preservation theorems.
*Products, sums, and list types.
*Reference types and exceptions.
*Subtyping. Subsumption and its understanding as inclusion or coercion.
*Principles of operational semantics.
*Key concepts of semantics: compositionality, adequacy, observational equivalence, full abstraction, and defi nability.

Relevant QAA Computing Curriculum Sections: Comparative Programming Languages, Compilers and Syntax Directed Tools, Programming Fundamentals, Theoretical Computing
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites It is RECOMMENDED that students have passed Compiling Techniques (INFR09007) OR Compiling Techniques (INFR10053)
Co-requisites It is RECOMMENDED that students also take Advances in Programming Languages (INFR11101)
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking Types and Semantics for Programming Languages (INFR10040)
Other requirements This course is open to all Informatics students including those on joint degrees. For external students where this course is not listed in your DPT, please seek special permission from the course organiser.

Some mathematical aptitude is also expected.
Information for Visiting Students
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2014/15, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 20, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 76 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 25 %, Practical Exam 75 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Short exercises each week.

If delivered in semester 1, this course will have an option for semester 1 only visiting undergraduate students, providing assessment prior to the end of the calendar year.
Feedback Not entered
Exam Information
Exam Diet Paper Name Hours & Minutes
Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)2:00
Learning Outcomes
1.Read and understand the presentation of operational semantics and type systems via inference rules for lambda calculus, and be able to modify such a presentation to include a new language feature, such as state and exceptions.
2.State and prove the theorems that relate big-step and small-step semantics, and the preservation and progress theorems that link operational semantics and type systems.
3.Exploit the connection between logic and type systems, where propositions correspond to types and proofs correspond to programs; understand how conjunction corresponds to products, disjunction to sums, and implication to functions.
4.Read a formal semantics for a small programming language written in operational denotational style, interpret it in informal terms, and predict how a given program will behave according to the semantic de nition.
5.Write a formal semantics for a programming language in the operational style, given a careful informal description of the language, and explain how any inadequacies in the informal description have been addressed in the formal one
6.Be able to write inductive de finitions and prove properties of them using induction.
Reading List
* Benjamin Pierce, et al, Software Foundations, 2012. [Available online, required reading:]
Additional Information
Course URL
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserProf Philip Wadler
Tel: (0131 6)50 5174
Course secretaryMiss Claire Edminson
Tel: (0131 6)51 4164
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