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Blog Computing Science 3R - Programming Languages 3 17/May/2004

Certainly, the exams didn't look to be getting off to the best start, when the first person noticed that the rubric was misprinted as "Answer all 5 questions". Fortunately for those who had concentrated on 70 per cent of the course, this was revealed as a gross inaccuracy, and it was the expected two-from-three.

As opposed to just about every person to whom I spoke afterwards, I passed over question 1 almost immediately. I didn't relish a discussion of parameter mechanisms, which I've always found to be a gray area at the best of times. Five four-mark, and necessarily wordy questions on the matter did not appeal. (Though I hear it wasn't too bad.)

Question 2 broke with the tradition of feminine names for the obligatory made-up programming language example, instead going for a subtle joke. (The likes of which haven't been seen since the DSA2 paper that included an inorder traversal of a binary tree, which was also a complete game of Mornington Crescent.) The name was Monty, and it was decidedly... Python-esque. Don't worry, nobody died of laughter. As it stood, a fairly-standard question on syntax and semantics - no mention of significant whitespace, and it probably wasn't expected, since there are few, if any, practitioners of the language on the course (though many intend to learn at some point).

The final question, as expected, was on language processors, with particular emphasis on JIT compilation (coming somewhat from left-field) and that bête noir, bootstrapping. I thought it was a relatively laid-back question for the tricky subject matter, and was surprised that it wasn't so popular. But then, diff'rent strokes....

Chris has finally gotten a blog, and also sat the exam today. The good news there can be summed up in two words on the front of the paper - "I rule!"

With that out of the way, there were but thirty minutes until our next engagement....




Cabumbo said:
I too thought PL went alright. Although the language processors section(which i knew a lot about) seemed to be a bit more complex than i had hoped for. I was hoping for the old phases of compilation stuff, but no joy. And anyway tombstone diagrams, what they all about, whoa ctually uses them???

Monty question was good, never got the joke though :/ Too busy answering the questions.

That sall for now, it's time to go away and reflect on what we have all learned here today.





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