About this Course
4.9
850 ratings
246 reviews
This course is an introduction to the basic concepts of programming languages, with a strong emphasis on functional programming. The course uses the languages ML, Racket, and Ruby as vehicles for teaching the concepts, but the real intent is to teach enough about how any language “fits together” to make you more effective programming in any language -- and in learning new ones. This course is neither particularly theoretical nor just about programming specifics -- it will give you a framework for understanding how to use language constructs effectively and how to design correct and elegant programs. By using different languages, you will learn to think more deeply than in terms of the particular syntax of one language. The emphasis on functional programming is essential for learning how to write robust, reusable, composable, and elegant programs. Indeed, many of the most important ideas in modern languages have their roots in functional programming. Get ready to learn a fresh and beautiful way to look at software and how to have fun building it. The course assumes some prior experience with programming, as described in more detail in the first module. The course is divided into three Coursera courses: Part A, Part B, and Part C. As explained in more detail in the first module of Part A, the overall course is a substantial amount of challenging material, so the three-part format provides two intermediate milestones and opportunities for a pause before continuing. The three parts are designed to be completed in order and set up to motivate you to continue through to the end of Part C. The three parts are not quite equal in length: Part A is almost as substantial as Part B and Part C combined. Week 1 of Part A has a more detailed list of topics for all three parts of the course, but it is expected that most course participants will not (yet!) know what all these topics mean....
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Flexible deadlines

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Intermediate Level

Intermediate Level

Clock

Suggested: 8-16 hours/week

Approx. 34 hours to complete
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English

Subtitles: English

Skills you will gain

RecursionHigher-Order FunctionPattern MatchingFunctional Programming
Globe

100% online courses

Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.
Calendar

Flexible deadlines

Reset deadlines in accordance to your schedule.
Intermediate Level

Intermediate Level

Clock

Suggested: 8-16 hours/week

Approx. 34 hours to complete
Comment Dots

English

Subtitles: English

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course

1

Section
Clock
2 hours to complete

Introduction and Course-Wide Information (Start Here)

Welcome! Start here! Learn about this course and how it's organized....
Reading
7 videos (Total 56 min), 5 readings
Video7 videos
Optional: Who I Am / Acknowledgments6m
What the Course is About / Initial Motivation8m
Recommended Background9m
Why Part A, Part B, Part C5m
Grading Policy9m
Optional: Very High-Level Outline7m
Reading5 readings
Start here!5m
About the Course10m
Some More Perspective on Recommended Background7m
Why are there 3 courses (Part A, Part B, Part C)?5m
Grading Policy Details10m
Clock
2 hours to complete

Software Installation and Homework 0

This module contains two things: (1) The information for the [unusual] software you need to install for Programming Languages Part A. (2) An optional "fake" homework that you can turn in for auto-grading and peer assessment to get used to the mechanics of assignment turn-in that we will use throughout the course. You can do this module either before or after watching the first few "actual course content" videos in the next module, but you will want to get the software installed soon so you can learn by actively trying out variations on the code in the videos. You will need to install the software to do the homework....
Reading
4 videos (Total 9 min), 3 readings, 2 quizzes
Video4 videos
Emacs installation2m
SML installation1m
SML Mode installation3m
Reading3 readings
Part A Software Installation and Use: SML and Emacsm
Why Emacs? (Optional)5m
Homework 0 Detailed Peer-Assessment Instructionsm

2

Section
Clock
6 hours to complete

Section 1 and Homework 1

It's time to dive in! Start with a careful reading of the "Section 1 Welcome Message" and go from there....
Reading
17 videos (Total 150 min), 6 readings, 2 quizzes
Video17 videos
Rules for Expressions9m
The REPL and Errors12m
Shadowing6m
Functions Informally7m
Functions Formally8m
Pairs and Other Tuples9m
Introducing Lists10m
List Functions11m
Let Expressions7m
Nested Functions7m
Let and Efficiency10m
Options9m
Booleans and Comparison Operations7m
Benefits of No Mutation7m
Optional: Java Mutation4m
Pieces of a Language6m
Reading6 readings
Section 1 Welcome Message7m
Section 1 Reading Notesm
Code Files for All Section 1 Videosm
Homework 1 Detailed Guidelines for Peer Assessmentm
Hints and Gotchas for Homework 15m
Extra Practice Problemsm

3

Section
Clock
7 hours to complete

Section 2 and Homework 2

This section is a particularly rewarding one where a lot of ideas come together to reveal a surprisingly elegant underlying structure in ML. As usual, start with the welcome reading, dive into the material, and leave plenty of time to approach the programming assignment methodically....
Reading
22 videos (Total 178 min), 6 readings, 2 quizzes
Video22 videos
Records8m
Tuples as Syntactic Sugar6m
Datatype Bindings8m
Case Expressions10m
Useful Datatypes11m
Pattern Matching So Far4m
Another Expression Example8m
Type Synonyms6m
Lists and Options are Datatypes9m
Polymorphic Datatypes8m
Each of Pattern Matching / Truth About Functions14m
A Little Type Inference6m
Polymorphic and Equality Types8m
Nested Patterns10m
More Nested Patterns10m
Nested Patterns Precisely6m
Optional: Function Patterns3m
Exceptions7m
Tail Recursion9m
Accumulators for Tail Recursion7m
Perspective on Tail Recursion5m
Reading6 readings
Section 2 Welcome Message5m
Section 2 Reading Notesm
Code Files for All Section 2 Videosm
Homework 2 Detailed Guidelines for Peer Assessmentm
Hints and Gotchas for Homework 27m
Extra Practice Problemsm

4

Section
Clock
8 hours to complete

Section 3 and Homework 3 -- and Course Motivation

This section is all about higher-order functions -- the feature that gives functional programming much of its expressiveness and elegance -- and its name! As usual, the first reading below introduces you to the section, but it will make more sense once you dive in to the lectures. Also be sure not to miss the material on course motivation that we have put in a "lesson" between the other videos for this week and the homework assignment. The material is "optional" in the sense that it is not needed for the homeworks or next week's exam, but it is still very highly encouraged to better understand why the course (including Parts B and C) covers what it does and, hopefully, will change the way you look at software forever. ...
Reading
28 videos (Total 247 min), 6 readings, 2 quizzes
Video28 videos
Functions as Arguments8m
Polymorphic Types and Functions as Arguments7m
Anonymous Functions9m
Unnecessary Function Wrapping5m
Map and Filter8m
Generalizing Prior Topics9m
Lexical Scope7m
Lexical Scope and Higher-Order Functions7m
Why Lexical Scope11m
Closures and Recomputation6m
Fold and More Closures11m
Closure Idiom: Combining Functions9m
Closure Idiom: Currying10m
Partial Application9m
Currying Wrapup6m
Mutable References8m
Closure Idiom: Callbacks8m
Standard-Library Documentation7m
Optional: Abstract Data Types With Closures11m
Optional: Closure Idioms Without Closures4m
Optional: Java Without Closures12m
Optional: C Without Closures10m
Course-Motivation Introduction5m
Why Study General PL Concepts?10m
Are All PLs the Same?6m
Why Functional Languages?11m
Why ML, Racket, and Ruby?12m
Reading6 readings
Section 3 Welcome Message5m
Section 3 Reading Notesm
Code Files for All Section 3 Videosm
Homework 3 Detailed Guidelines for Peer Assessmentm
Hints and Gotchas for Section 310m
Extra Practice Problemsm
4.9

Top Reviews

By VAMar 5th 2018

Very interesting course! Superb teaching and homework assignments. If you are interested in functional programming or in programming languages in general, this should be one of the must take MOOCs

By ALMar 22nd 2017

Great course!\n\nI think this course has just the right balance of theoretical background, formal definitions, and actual examples to make "just right".\n\nThanks Dan, and everybody else involved!

Instructor

Dan Grossman

Professor
Computer Science & Engineering

About University of Washington

Founded in 1861, the University of Washington is one of the oldest state-supported institutions of higher education on the West Coast and is one of the preeminent research universities in the world....

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Once you enroll for a Certificate, you’ll have access to all videos, quizzes, and programming assignments (if applicable). Peer review assignments can only be submitted and reviewed once your session has begun. If you choose to explore the course without purchasing, you may not be able to access certain assignments.

  • When you purchase a Certificate you get access to all course materials, including graded assignments. Upon completing the course, your electronic Certificate will be added to your Accomplishments page - from there, you can print your Certificate or add it to your LinkedIn profile. If you only want to read and view the course content, you can audit the course for free.

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