Changes between two versions
This is a formal description of a small functional language (that looks a bit like Erlang). We will build it from the ground up, starting with the basic data structures and then define how expressions are evaluated. Even if the language is very small we will have some points in the design were we need to do a choice; depending on our choices our language will have different properties.
Before this lecture you should be up and running in Erlang to the level that you can run small tests in the Erlang shell. You should also have read chapter 1 and 2 in the course book.
Note - again, the lectures will not describe how to work with Erlang and the programming environment, this is something that you should learn by reading the course book and follwing the online material.
After the lecture Start with the first assignment. Make sure that you start early so that you can make best use of the scheduled hours where teaching assistants will help you.
Going further In this very limited description we have omitted a few things. If you want to know more how functional programming languages are defined you can look at the following two references:
* The Implementation of Functional Programming Languages by Simon L. Peyton Jones. This is the classical book in the area. You don't have to read the whole book but do take a look at the first set of chapters. You will see how the approach is very close to how we have worked. In the book a functional prog
armming language, Miranda, is defined in terms of lambda calculus. Lambda expressions are then given an operational semantics by being expressed as abstract machine instructions.
* Teaching Creative Computer Science , Simon Peyton Jones at TEDx:
How did we cheat? We have done some hand waving in our description. It's not a complete operational sem
Nor have we described how functions should be represented or how higher order functions should work but this will actually be only smaller extensions to the given description.