License: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license (CC BY 3.0)
When quoting this document, please refer to the following
DOI: 10.4230/LIPIcs.SNAPL.2019.4
URN: urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-105472
Go to the corresponding LIPIcs Volume Portal

Crichton, Will

From Theory to Systems: A Grounded Approach to Programming Language Education

LIPIcs-SNAPL-2019-4.pdf (0.3 MB)


I present a new approach to teaching a graduate-level programming languages course focused on using systems programming ideas and languages like WebAssembly and Rust to motivate PL theory. Drawing on students' prior experience with low-level languages, the course shows how type systems and PL theory are used to avoid tricky real-world errors that students encounter in practice. I reflect on the curricular design and lessons learned from two years of teaching at Stanford, showing that integrating systems ideas can provide students a more grounded and enjoyable education in programming languages. The curriculum, course notes, and assignments are freely available:

BibTeX - Entry

  author =	{Crichton, Will},
  title =	{{From Theory to Systems: A Grounded Approach to Programming Language Education}},
  booktitle =	{3rd Summit on Advances in Programming Languages (SNAPL 2019)},
  pages =	{4:1--4:9},
  series =	{Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs)},
  ISBN =	{978-3-95977-113-9},
  ISSN =	{1868-8969},
  year =	{2019},
  volume =	{136},
  editor =	{Lerner, Benjamin S. and Bod{\'\i}k, Rastislav and Krishnamurthi, Shriram},
  publisher =	{Schloss Dagstuhl -- Leibniz-Zentrum f{\"u}r Informatik},
  address =	{Dagstuhl, Germany},
  URL =		{},
  URN =		{urn:nbn:de:0030-drops-105472},
  doi =		{10.4230/LIPIcs.SNAPL.2019.4},
  annote =	{Keywords: programming languages, programming language education}

Keywords: programming languages, programming language education
Collection: 3rd Summit on Advances in Programming Languages (SNAPL 2019)
Issue Date: 2019
Date of publication: 11.07.2019

DROPS-Home | Fulltext Search | Imprint | Privacy Published by LZI