CPSC 425 Spring 2006
History of Programming Languages Presentation and Paper

Your assignment is to research and report on an influential person or language (or related group thereof) in the history of programming languages. Your research will culminate in an oral presentation to the class and a short paper. In both the presentation and the paper you should address the following: Additional guidelines for the presentation and paper appear below.


As you research your topic you will find lots of interesting information, much of which you will incorporate into your paper. Think of your presentation as an advertisement for your topic and your paper. Why is this interesting? Why should anyone bother to learn more about it? Be sure to cover the points outlined above, but remember that you will not be able to go into as much detail as is in your paper. Structuring your talk effectively will mean thinking carefully about the most important elements of your topic.

You are expected to use high quality, appropriate visual aids during your presentation. PowerPoint is the default; if you plan to do something else it's best to discuss it with me first.

Presentations will begin Monday, April 17 and will proceed approximately chronologically by topic according to the schedule below:

Monday, April 17:

Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace (Jessica)
Programming Languages of the 1940s (James)
Fortran and Early High Level Languages (Boz)

Wednesday, April 19:

The Algol Family (Mason)
C/C++ (Kevin)
Smalltalk (Hampton)

Friday, April 21:

Functional Programming and ML (Scotty)
Java (Drew)


Your paper should be 4-5 pages in length, 12 pt, Times New Roman, 1 inch margins. Be sure to address the points above, but weave your information together in a way that is both informative and interesting. Small clips of code may be useful in illustrating your points, but your paper should mainly tell the story of the development of the language, not be a series of program listings.

You are required to use as least three good sources, at most one of which may be a primarily electronic source. Be sure to use citations as appropriate. You may use the citation style of your choice.

Papers are due on Monday, April 24 at 4:00 pm. Papers should be prepared in MS Word and submitted electronically by e-mail. Late papers will be penalized one letter grade for each 24 hours.