EECS 662

Programming Languages


EECS 662 - Programming Languages

Programming Languages is an introduction to basic principles of defining, describing and implementing interpreters for programming languages. The fundamental goal is establishing a vocabulary for discussing what programming languages and programs written in them do. Topics covered to accomplish this are data representation and types; declarations, bindings and variable assignment; parameter passing and function evaluation; statements; and objects and types; The course uses an implementation-based approach with students developing type checkers, interpreters for languages that demonstrate features presented in class.

Class Information

Room and Time
G415 LEEP2
2:30-3:45 TR
EECS 368 and a working knowledge of Haskell are hard prerequisites for undergraduates. Graduate students without this background should talk with the instructor.
Instructor Information
Dr. Perry Alexander
Office Hours: 4:00-5:00 TR in 3048 Eaton Hall or Zoom or by appointment
Office: 3048 Eaton Hall / 208 Nichols Hall
Phone: 785-864-7741
TA Information
Michael Neises
Office Hours: 1:00 M, 2:00 W
Office: 3025 Eaton Hall
Textbooks and Resources
Perry Alexander, Notes on Experimenting with Programming Languages in Haskell, published online. (Required)
Shriram Krishnamurthi, Programming Languages: Application and Interpretation (Optional reference using Scheme rather than Haskell)
Miran Lipovaca, Learn You a Haskell for Great Good!, (Haskell Reference)
Haskell Website


Grades are assigned on a standard 10 point scale:

I do not use a +/- grading scale.

Classroom tasks are weighted using the following scale:

You must pass both projects and homework, and exams separately to pass the class. If you score less than 60% on your projects and homework or less than 60% on your exams, you will not pass the course.

I may curve final grades at the end of the semester. However, I will never curve individual assignments or exams. If I curve and how much I curve is at my discretion.


You will perform several projects that involve developing code using the Haskell programming language. These projects are an exceptionally important part of the course and provide insight into building interpreters that cannot be gained from lectures or exams. Programming projects will be assigned every 1-2 weeks. The GHCI development environment will be available on the EECS Department’s Linux systems. Interpreters for virtually any platform you might have are available for download from the Haskell website.

You are required to submit your documented source code, testing results, test input files you have prepared, and any documentation needed to execute your code. Use tar to create an archive of your submission. Please use KU’s Canvas system for submissions. I will not accept paper listings when electronic submission is required. Your programs will be extracted, compiled and tested in the Linux environment. Please document your code source files making certain to include your name and ID number.


All exams are closed book, closed notes exams during our normal class period or the final exam period. Our final exam will be held as scheduled by KU.

Classroom Policies

The Three Commandments

Pretty simple. Follow them and we’ll be great friends!

  1. Don’t whine
  2. Don’t cheat
  3. Don’t be mean

Class Participation

I do not take attendance in class. However, participation in class is important to your success and its success. My classes are highly interactive, please ask questions and participate in class discussions. I do not record my lectures. Always remember to be kind and respectful of others.

Grading Errors

If I have made an error in grading an exam or assignment, you have two weeks following the date the item is available to see me about correcting the problem. Note that this includes the final. After that time, your grade is set and will not be changed. I request that you wait 24 hours after an exam is returned before coming to me with questions.


I may decide to curve final scores when the semester is over. Whether I curve and how much I curve is at my discretion. I will never curve up, but may curve down. Specifically, 90% and above will always be an “A”, but I may choose to lower the cutoff percentage. Whether I curve and how much I curve is at my discretion. I will never curve scores on an individual graded assignment, lab or exam.


I encourage you to use email to contact me. I am logged in whenever I am working and check my mail frequently. Email is my preferred means of communication.


The course blog is available on the website. I will post late-breaking news about projects, homework and class administration on the blog. Check the website and blog frequently, particularly around project due dates and exams.


Feel free to call me at my office at any time. I will never call you. I have an irrational hatred for the telephone.

Office Hours

I will make every effort to be in my office during scheduled office hours. If there are exceptions, I will let you know as early as is possible. If you have a conflict with my office hours, please make an appointment. I have an open door policy, you are free to come by whenever you choose. If I am busy, I may ask that you come back later, but please don’t hesitate to ask!


Academic misconduct of any kind will automatically result in a 0 score on the homework, lab, project, or exam in question and your actions will be reported to the department chair. Your homework, exams and projects must be individually prepared unless otherwise noted. Posting your assignments to internet discussion lists is considered academic misconduct. Sharing your solutions with others is considered academic misconduct. Turning in solutions from previous semesters is considered academic misconduct. Paying people to prepare solutions is academic misconduct. Automated mechanisms are available for checking the originality of source code. I start each semester trusting my students and hope to end each semester trusting my students. If you violate that trust, I am merciless. Please spend your time trying to solve assigned problems rather than trying to get around the system. Don’t risk it!


Excusing a missed exam or assignment is left to the discretion of the instructor. Illness, family emergencies, and religious observances are examples of acceptable excuses. Computer down time, over sleeping, and social events are examples of unacceptable excuses. Please try to let me know of problems in advance when possible and be prepared to provide verification of your excuse.


As a policy, I do not extend due dates of homework and projects. If I choose to do so, I will only announce the extension in class, via email or on the blog. If you hear an extension has been granted and I have not announced it, your information is incorrect. Remember that if I grant extensions early in the semester, it will compress due dates the end of the semester.

Dress Code

Ties are expressly forbidden in my classroom. If you wear one you will be taunted mercilessly. Exceptions are made for bow ties which we all know are cool.


We will cover topics in roughly the same order as our text. I will also add miscellaneous topics throughout the semester. Specific topics are subject to change without notice and topics marked “(tentative)” will be covered as time permits.