CS 341 - Survey of Programming Languages
Course Information

Course Overview

This course surveys three programming languages/paradigms: the functional language Scheme, and multi-paradigm, dynamically-typed Python and event-driven Android Java-based programming.  More than a survey course, however, this course covers fundamental design decisions at the core of every programming language.  The larger first part of the course will explore such issues in the context of the programming language Scheme.  We will learn the techniques necessary to implement a simple Scheme interpreter in Java.  The second part of the course will allow students to master of the basics of two popular and practical languages (Python and Android) while gaining an understanding of these languages in the general context of programming language design.  This course is analogous to linguistics course teaching the basics of three languages, where the first language is chosen to challenge the student's assumptions about languages, and the others are chosen to provide a foundation for future practice and reinforce general understanding about languages.  As a fourth hour project students will design, specify, and build an interpreter for their own general purpose programming language.

Learning Objectives

This course fulfills the Gettysburg College Qualitative, Inductive, and Deductive Reasoning (QIDR) curricular requirement.


There is no course text.  Necessary materials will be supplied or found online.


Todd Neller
Lecture: Tu, Th, 10:00-11:15AM, Glatfelter 112
Office: Glatfelter 209
Office Hours: M/W 1:00-3:00PM, Tu/Th 2:30-4:00PM.  Please drop by or make an appointment. Note: Generally, feel free to drop in if my office door is open (i.e., most of the time beyond class).
Phone: 337-6643


80% Assignments
10% Exam(s)
5% Colloquium Attendance
5% Class Attendance / Participation

You are responsible to know the material from each lecture and reading assignment before the start of the next class.  Homework is due at the beginning of lecture on the due date.  Late homework will not necessarily be accepted.  Code must be a legal program in the relevant language in order to be graded.  (It need not be free from logic errors.)  For compiled languages, this means that the program must compile without error.  For interpreted languages, this means it must be interpretable without error.   Source code with compilation/syntax errors may not receive partial credit.  You are required to attend 3 colloquia or approved departmental events over the course of the semester. 


Class attendance and participation is required.  If you attend all classes and are willing to participate, you'll get 100% for this part of your grade.  Even if you know enough to give a particular lecture, please consider the value of helping your peers during in-class exercises.

Woody Allen is quoted as saying "80% of success is just showing up."   While our class attendance/participation grade is not 80% of the final grade, it is critical that late arrivals and unexcused absences are not excessive.  Missing more than half of class unexcused is considered being absent.  An unexcused late arrival is counted as a half absence.  If the total number of absences counted this way exceeds 20% of class meetings, i.e. 6 absences or more, the student will have failed the course.

Honor Code

Honesty, Integrity, Honor.  These are more important than anything we will teach in this class.  Students can and are encouraged to help each other understand course concepts, but all graded work must be done independently unless otherwise specified (e.g. group work).  Submitted work should be created by those submitting it.  Submission of plagiarized code or design work is a violation of the Honor Code, which I strictly enforce.  For detailed information about the Honor Code, see http://www.gettysburg.edu/about/offices/provost/advising/honor_code/index.dot.

What is permitted:

What is not permitted:

Put simply, students may discuss assignments at an abstract level (e.g. specifications, algorithm pseudocode), but must actually implement solutions independently or in permitted groups.  Credit should be given where credit is due.  Let your conscience be your guide.  Do not merely focus on the result; learn from the process.