Syllabus: CSE 4713 / 6713 Programming Languages, Fall 2014

Dr. J. Edward Swan II <>
Fall 2014
Course Time and Location
TR, 12:30 pm – 1:45 pm, 104 Butler Hall
Professor Office Hours and Location
T, 1:45 pm – 2:45 pm; R, 1:45 pm – 3:15 pm; 321 Butler Hall
Project Instructor
Taylor Comer <>
Project Instructor Office Hours and Location
T, 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm; F, 10:30 am – 12:00 pm; 210 Butler Hall
Course Prerequisites
ECE 3724, Microprocessors, and CSE 3813, Formal Languages, or equivalent, with a grade of C or better.
Catalog Description
Three hours lecture.  An introduction to programming language specification and analysis. Additional topics include control structures, data types, and structures, run-time environments, binding strategies, compilers, and interpreters.
Required Text
Concepts of Programming Languages, 10th edition, Robert W. Sebesta, Pearson, 2012.

Grading Scale

90% – 100% A
80% – 89% B
70% – 79% C
60% – 69% D
0% – 59% F

Graded Activities

CSE 4713
CSE 6713
In-Class Activities: 20% 10%
Programming Projects: 15% 15%
Midterm I Exam: 20% 20%
Midterm II Exam: 20% 20%
Final Exam: 25% 25%
Term Paper: N/A

In-Class Activities: These will be short 10 to 15-minute activities, such as quizzes and perhaps group work.  It is your responsibility to be in class to complete these in-class activities.

Programming Projects: These projects will come from the textbook and perhaps other sources.  Graduate-level assignments may be more complex than the undergraduate-level assignments.

Exams: There will be two in-class midterm exams during the semester.  The final exam will be comprehensive, and will be given during the scheduled final exam time.  The graduate level exams will reflect the deeper understanding of the material that is required for graduate credit.

Term Paper: Students taking this course for graduate credit are required to write a term paper surveying an area of emerging languages or compiler technology and research; some example topics include secure languages, automatic parallelism extraction, hardware development languages, and languages for alternative hardware such as GPUs.  This paper should have 12 double-spaced pages (not counting the title page and references), with 1-inch margins, and 12 point font.


I expect you to attend the class meetings.  While I may or may not take attendance, we will often have in-class activities that count towards the In Class Activities portion of your grade.  If you are absent, you will receive a zero for the day's activity.  If you know in advance that you will be absent, and if I approve the absence, then your missed activity will not count towards your final course grade.  Otherwise, a missed activity will result in a grade of zero points.

Keep in mind that if you are absent you are still responsible for material covered in class.  Therefore, absences may have an indirect effect on other parts of your grade.  If you miss class, it is your responsibility to talk with another student to determine what was covered in lecture.  Numerous research studies have shown that grades and attendance are highly correlated, and in my decades of college teaching I have seen the truth of this correlation again and again — showing up is the number one thing you can do for your final grade in this class and in all of your classes. 

Students who are auditing the course must attend at least 75% of the class meetings in order to receive a passing grade.

Late Assignments

Deadlines are deadlines.  Late assignments will receive penalties.  Please plan ahead and don't put off getting started.

All out-of-class assignments are due at the beginning of class on the due date.  Any assignment turned in after this deadline is considered late.  Late assignments will lose 10% of the final grade for every 24-hour period, up to a maximum of 100%, where weekends count as one 24-hour period. 

All assignments must be submitted in order to pass the course, even if the assignment will receive no credit.  A student who fails to submit any assignment will receive an 'F' grade, regardless of any other achievements in the class.  The last day for submitting assignments is the last lecture day for this course before the final exam.  An assignment submission will only be considered valid if it suggests that the student has made a good-faith effort to complete the assignment; this will be determined by the professor on an individual basis.  For example, a program with incomplete functionality will typically not be accepted.

In the case of extenuating circumstances where an extension is requested, the student must supply official documentation.  For example, family or personal crises documentation can be obtained from the Dean of Students Office, while health-related documentation can be obtained from the Health Center.  Documentation and any approved late work should be turned in to the professor no later than one week after the extenuating circumstance occurs.

Missed Exams

Occasionally students miss examinations. Sometimes the student knows about these absences in advance, and sometimes they happen unexpectedly.  If you know in advance that you will be absent and you wish to have the absence considered excused, then you must meet with me before the date of the exam, and I will let you know whether or not the absence will be excused.  If your excused absence will occur during an exam, then I will make arrangements for you to take the exam early.

If you miss an exam unexpectedly and wish to have the absence considered excused, then you must meet with the me at the earliest opportunity possible after the absence, and provide documentation to support your claim that the absence should be considered excused.  If the absence is excused, then I will substitute the average grade of your other exams (midterms and final) for the missed exam.

For unexcused absences from examinations you will receive a score of zero points.

Grading and Appeals

I will be working with a grader — the Project Instructor — this semester.  If you disagree with a grade, you need to provide me with a written appeal.  Although you can discuss a grade with me, I generally won't make a decision regarding the grade based on a discussion, but only on a written appeal.   

Course Communication

Website: We will use the myCourses website for this class.  The myCourses page will be updated often, especially when assignments are posted.  Assignments will be submitted electronically through myCourses.

Email: When I send class-related email, I will use your email address.  Unless otherwise instructed, do not send email asking the professor or project instructor to debug a program.  If you need help, come by during office hours or set up an appointment.

Academic Honesty and Misconduct

In this course, students are expected to uphold the Mississippi State University Honor Code:

"As a Mississippi State University student I will conduct myself with honor and integrity at all times. I will not lie, cheat, or steal, nor will I accept the actions of those who do."

Upon accepting admission to Mississippi State University, a student immediately assumes a commitment to uphold the Honor Code, to accept responsibility for learning, and to follow the philosophy and rules of the Honor Code.  Students will be required to state their commitment on examinations, research papers, and other academic work.  Ignorance of the rules does not exclude any member of the MSU community from the requirements or the processes of the Honor Code.

Students are also expected to maintain the standards of academic honesty that are described in the CSE Department's Undergraduate Studies Academic Honesty Policy (CSE 4713), or the CSE Department's Graduate Studies Academic Honesty Policy (CSE 6713). 
There will be no tolerance for any form of academic dishonesty.  In particular:

  • Do not cheat on a quiz or exam. 
  • Do not turn in someone else's work, on a programming assignment or any other type of assignment, as if it were your own. 

This are important policies.  Not only will violators fail to learn the course material, but violators will receive an XF in this course, and will otherwise be handled according the CSE Department's Undergraduate or Graduate Studies Academic Honesty Policies, as well as the Academic Operating Policy and Procedure of Mississippi State University.

As a professor at Mississippi State University, I am required to report all incidents of academic misconduct. 

Additional Policies

Personal Electronic Devices: Students must respect their fellow students and not disrupt class.  Therefore, cell phones, pagers, other such alarms, or personal conversations which disturb the lecture are not allowed.  It is very unprofessional for your mobile phone to make noise during our time together.  Remove any headsets or earbuds before coming to class.  Students with personal laptops are encouraged to bring them to class; however, laptops are not required for this course.

Grade of Incomplete (I): Following MSU policy, incomplete grades will only be given in extreme circumstances, such as serious medical events, a death in a student's immediate family, or similar circumstances beyond a student's control.

No Food or Drinks in Class: It is the CSE department's policy that you can't eat or dink in Butler hall classrooms.

Drop / Add Policy: This class follows Mississippi State University's Official Drop/Add Policy:

Add/drop without penalty: A student has through the fifth class day into the semester to add a course and through the tenth class day to drop a course without being assessed a fee or academic penalty.

Drop after the tenth class day through the 30th class day into the semester: A student who elects to drop a course during this period must receive the approval of his/her advisor, will be assigned a W on his/her academic record, and be assessed a fee. The advisor who permits the drop will specify its effective date.

Drop after the 30th class day into the semester: A student cannot drop courses after this period except in documented cases of serious illness, extreme hardship, or failure of the instructor to provide significant assessment of his/her performance. A request to drop a course during this period must be approved by the student's advisor and academic dean. The dean who permits the drop will specify its effective date. A student receiving permission to drop will receive a W on his/her academic record and be assessed a fee.

Faculty are expected to provide a student with significant evidence or assessment of his/her class performance within the first 30 days of the semester.

Right to Change

I reserve the right to change the course policies or schedule in order to facilitate instruction.  Any such changes will be discussed in class and updated on the course web site.

Last modified: September 08, 2014