Advances in Programming Languages


Note: This page refers to a past version of the course. You can also consult the current APL course web pages.

This is a level 10 course in the School of Informatics, suitable for 4th year undergraduate students. The course surveys recent developments in programming language design and implementation with an emphasis on technological advances on the state-of-the-art. For further details see the course descriptor.

Lectures: Mondays and Thursdays at 9am during Semester 2, in room G.02 of the William Robertson Building.

Links: The William Robertson Building; Map; Room G.02 (Lecture Room 3).

The lecture log and lecture blog provide more details, homework exercises and references.

Coursework: There is a single piece of assessed coursework, a written report on one of five programming language topics. Further details are available on the coursework web page.

Contact: The course lecturers are David Aspinall and Ian Stark.

The most effective way to contact either of the lecturers is by personal email, from your University email address. However, many questions are even better posed on the course newsgroup; for more on this, read on.

Newsgroup: The course has a newsgroup eduni.inf.course.apl available from the server You should read this regularly.

The newsgroup carries announcements about lecture content, updates to the web page, homework, and coursework. You can also ask questions about the course, and respond to the questions of others.

Many email clients can read newsgroups; there are also specialised news clients; and you may be able to access the newsgroup through your web browser at URL news:// For more information on newsgroups, see the Informatics page about USENET and the University guide to the news service.

To use the news server from outwith the University network you must arrange appropriate secure access. The Informatics support page gives three different solutions. One is to set up a VPN (a virtual private network), so that your own machine is networkologically within the University. This will also give you access to internal-only web pages, and subscriptions to online research resources paid for by the University Library. Both Information Services and the Student Helpdesk have guides on how to set up a suitable VPN.

A word of warning: if you connect your machine through a VPN, then it will at once be visible to all others on the University network. Before doing so, you should check that you have a suitable firewall running, as the VPN will bypass any external firewall such as a broadband router.

Last Year: The course web pages for 2007–2008 include slides, reading material and a lecture log for last year's version of this course.

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