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Unit information: Advanced Topics in Programming Languages (Teaching Unit) in 2020/21

Unit name Advanced Topics in Programming Languages (Teaching Unit)
Unit code COMSM0067
Credit points 0
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Wang
Open unit status Not open

COMS10016 Imperative and Functional Programming and COMS10017 Object Oriented Programming and Algorithms I or equivalent.

COMS20007 Programming Languages or Computation or equivalent.


Assessment Unit COMSM0066 Advanced Topics in Programming Languages (Exam assessment, 10 credits).

School/department Department of Computer Science
Faculty Faculty of Engineering


This unit provides students with a comprehensive understanding of the fundamental theory of programming languages. We will define language concepts precisely based on their static and dynamic semantics, which can be used as tools for analyse and prove properties of languages, and for combining and comparing language features.

Students completing the unit will gain an understanding of the methods that are directly applicable to the implementation of programming languages, and the reasoning and verification of language properties.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Understand and define language concepts by their static and dynamic semantics, and
  2. Use this understanding to analyse and prove properties of languages.

Teaching details

Teaching will be delivered through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous sessions, including lectures, practical activities supported by drop-in sessions, problem sheets, self-directed exercises and possible group-work.

Teaching will take place over Weeks 1-7, and for students assessed by examination, consolidation and revision sessions in Weeks 11 and 12.

Assessment Details

January timed assessment.

Reading and References

  • Harper, Robert, Practical Foundations for Programming Languages, 2nd Edition (Cambridge University Press, 2016) ISBN: 978-1107150300