CS 374 - Compilers
Course Information

Course Overview

A compiler translates a program from a higher level language to a lower level language which is executable.  In this course, the basic theory and application of compilation is taught through a semester-long project: a compiler of a subset of the Java programming language to the MIPS assembly language.   The project will be implemented using the Java language.  The structure of the program is linear, following the presentation of key topics: lexical analysis, parsing, abstract syntax, semantic analysis, activation records, and code generation.  The student will gain not only an understanding of how to construct a compiler, but also the fundamental skills for interpreter writing as well.  Further, compiler writing presents one of computer science's most beautiful bridges between fundamental theory and useful practice. 

Learning Objectives


Modern Compiler Implementation in Java (2nd Edition)
Andrew W. Appel, With Jens Palsberg
Cambridge University Press
October 2002
ISBN: 052182060X


Todd Neller
Lecture: TTh 10:00-11:15AM, Glatfelter 112
Office: Glatfelter 209
Office Hours:  TTh 11:30AM-1PM or by appointment.  On Thursdays when there is a Computer Science colloquium, office hours will be held 2:30-4PM.
Note:  Generally, feel free to drop in if my office door is open.  If it is closed, I'm desperately seeking to keep on top of things and rabid attack ferrets may drop from the ceiling in my defense.

Phone: 337-6643


80% Assignments
10% Quizzes / Exams
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.  We may have some unannounced quizzes to maintain accountability.

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.

You are required to attend 2 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.

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.