This is a course in the School of Informatics suitable for first-year undergraduate students (SCQF level 8). The course teaches the basics of functional programming using the language Haskell. The main goal is to acquaint the student with fundamental programming concepts such as recursion, abstraction, higher-order functions and data types, whilst emphasizing the practical use of such constructs. For further details see the course catalogue entry.
Informatics 1: Functional Programming is part of Informatics 1, the first-year programme for all undergraduate degrees in the School of Informatics. During semester 1, students should also be taking Informatics 1: Computation & Logic.
Slides and reading: Here are the annotated slides and code examples for each lecture. The pages in the two course textbooks that correspond to each lecture are indicated.
|Week||Subject||Annotated slides, videos, code etc.||Reading in Thompson / Lipovača|
|1.||Introduction. Functions and lists.||
Monday slides /
video on Learn, link coming soon
(Functional Programming is Black Magic,
Land of Lisp music video)
Tuesday slides and code / more slides (just started) and more code / video on Learn, link coming soon
Sects. 1.2-11,1.14; 2.1,2.3-4,2.7; 3.2-3,3.7
pp. xv-7, 23-26
pp. 7-13, 15-18
Lectures: During Semester 1, 14:10–15:00 Mondays in George Square Lecture Theatre and 11:10–12:00 Tuesdays in David Hume Tower Lecture Theatre A.
except for the following swaps with Inf1-CL:
You are very strongly advised to attend all lectures!
Link: Lecture locations.
Exercises: Tutorial exercises are published here at least a week before the corresponding tutorial. This work does not contribute towards your mark for the course but it is absolutely essential for your understanding of the material.
You can discuss your work on these exercises with other students, and ask questions on the course discussion forum. Or in the CompSoc chatroom. If you are having difficulties, drop in to the lab when a demonstrator is on duty. Or go to InfBase, the Informatics student help desk. Or attend an InfPALS session.
The CamlBack system, hosted at UCLA, can provide automated feedback on most of your tutorial exercises. It may help you to make better progress on the exercises before your tutorial but it is not a substitute for tutorial attendance. CamlBack is still under development and for some kinds of exercises the feedback will be more helpful than for others.
Tutorials: These start in week 3 and take place each week until week 10. If you are ill or otherwise unable to attend one week then email your tutor, and if possible attend another tutorial group in the same week.
Some tutorial groups are designated as "beginner friendly". Students who have no programming experience, or who are less confident, may wish to request allocation to these. There will be a beginner-friendly tutorial in each tutorial timeslot so timetabling conflicts should not prevent anybody from switching into, or out of, a beginner-friendly tutorial.
All tutorial groups will cover the same tutorial exercises but the beginner-friendly tutorials will proceed more carefully, as required by the students in the group, to make sure that all students are keeping up. The tutorials that are not labelled as beginner-friendly will tend to proceed more quickly.
If you wish to move to a different tutorial group, or your name is not on the list, please send email to Rob Armitage. Indicate which of the tutorial timeslots are impossible for you, and whether or not you want to be assigned to a beginner-friendly tutorial. Or visit Rob in the ITO on level 6 of Appleton Tower.
Students are expected to prepare for each tutorial, which includes completing the tutorial exercises and the reading.
You must attempt the work before the tutorial and bring with you a copy of the work you have done. Tutorials are mandatory, and the only way to learn is to do the work before the tutorial, not at the tutorial. Students who have not done the work in advance may be sent away. Programming is not a spectator sport!
Advanced Tutorial: There will be an extra drop-in tutorial starting in week 4 for students who would like to go beyond what will be covered in the normal tutorials. This tutorial is for you if you had no significant trouble solving the non-optional exercises and have made a serious attack on at least the first of the optional exercises. This is in addition to and separate from your normal tutorial session and tutorial exercises!
If you decide to attend, then you should bring your solutions to the tutorial exercise with you!
Labs: The workstations in AT 5.05 / 6.06 are reserved for Inf1-FP for a few hours every weekday. A lab demonstrator will be available at the times indicated to assist with the coursework.
|Reserved for Inf1-FP||Demonstrator available||Location|
Every student should attend the lab during week 2 in order to complete the lab exercise. Please go on the day indicated in the list below. If you have a conflict, just go on a different day in week 2 - no need to inform anybody. After week 2, the labs are run on a drop-in basis and you can go as often as you like.
Videos: Recordings of lectures are available via links in the list of lectures above. These recordings supplement lectures by allowing you to review the material presented and revise for the exam.
Forum: Piazza provides an online forum for Inf1-FP in which you can post questions and answers on anything related to the course. The course lecturer, teaching assistant, tutors and demonstrators will also read and answer questions.
Feedback will be provided on all of your work, with the exception of the final exam.
Books: You will need one of the following textbooks:
Section/page references in both books that correspond roughly to the lectures are given above. Read at least these. It would be better to read more than these pages, to get the context and to understand related concepts. If you find a topic in one of the books hard to understand, try the other one.
All of the following books were also written for beginning students, and may provide a useful alternative perspective.
Examinations: Assessment for Inf1-FP is done through two exams.
Contact: The course lecturer is Don Sannella and the course teaching assistant is Stefan Fehrenbach. The best time to speak to Don is at the end of a lecture, or come to his weekly Inf1-FP office hour before the Tuesday lecture:
If contacting Don or Stefan by email please use your University address. Much better is to ask your question on Piazza since usually other students will have the same question. Questions sent by email will be re-posted on Piazza if the answer may be of interest to other students.
Programming Competition: Each year the course concludes with a programming competition, with an actual prize draw and first prize sponsored by software company Galois. The competition centers round the drawing of fractal-based images. This provides students with an excellent opportunity to show off the skills they have learned during the course, and to set loose their creativity in an unconstrained environment. Every year students have gone on to amaze the course organizers—and themselves—with ingenious and beautiful drawings and fractals, and this year is certainly not going to be different.
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