In the course of a career, a computer scientist or software engineer will be confronted with many different programming languages and paradigms. To make informed design choices when selecting a particular language, he or she must understand the principles underlying how programming language features are defined, implemented and used.
This course will examine, from a historical perspective, the guiding principles of the major programming paradigms, starting from the earliest programming languages until the most recent ones. As such it will highlight the major principles, strengths and differences of different programming languages and paradigms.
Given the learning outcomes of the "Master in Computer Science and Engineering" program, this course contributes to the development, acquisition and evaluation of the following learning outcomes:
Given the learning outcomes of the "Master  in Computer Science" program, this course contributes to the development, acquisition and evaluation of the following learning outcomes:
Students completing this course successfully will be able to:
- describe and differentiate the main programming paradigms (including procedural programming, functional programming, logic programming, object-oriented programming, concurrent programming, as well as more recent programming paradigms)
- determine what paradigm a programming language belongs to;
- identify and discuss the design principles of a given language or paradigm;
- choose a language or paradigm suitable for solving a particular problem and argue this choice;
- write small programs in a selection of the different languages and paradigms seen in the course;
- place a programming language in relation to others from a historical perspective;
- compare different programming languages from the point of view of their underlying design principles;
- understand the impact of different language design choices (syntax, parameter passing, scoping, abstraction, ').
The contribution of this Teaching Unit to the development and command of the skills and learning outcomes of the programme(s) can be accessed at the end of this sheet, in the section entitled “Programmes/courses offering this Teaching Unit”.
The course will consist of traditional theory sessions in which the characteristics and guiding principles of different programming languages and paradigms are explored in detail. The practical sessions complement these more theoretical course sessions with hands-on programming exercises in a selection of programming languages and paradigms seen in the theory course.
Throughout the year, in parallel with the theory and lab sessions, the students will study in detail (either individually or in pairs) several of the languages seen in the course, by carrying out three programming missions in three different languages. These missions will be evaluated through interviews and presentations to the professor and the course assistant. This evaluation replaces the traditional course exam.
Having a healthy interest in programming paradigms and programming language concepts, such as for example seen in the course LINGI1131.
The more different programming languages a student has been confronted with before, the more he or she will appreciate this course.
o Since the languages or paradigms studied may vary from year to year, the references for this course may vary as well. Nevertheless, a very interesting reference that covers a wide range of programming languages, is :
§ 'Principles of Programming Languages - Design, Evaluation and Implementation' by Bruce J. MacLennan.
o The course slides as well as other relevant and practical information related to the course will be accessible on Moodle. The same platform will also be the means of communication between the teacher(s) and the students.