CPSC 425 Spring 2006
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
History of Programming Languages Presentation and Paper
Additional guidelines for the presentation and paper appear below.
- The major contribution(s) of the person or language. Be careful here!
Most programming languages contain many elements that are similar to
previous languages, with only a few innovations.
You should identify and
focus on the innovations.
- The motivation for the work of the person or the development of
the language. This may draw from the state of computing,
advancements in science, social or political issues,
and/or events in the personal lives of individuals. In other words,
why did this work ever happen?
- The development process. Did a single person sit down and think up
this language over coffee one day? Did a committee take a
decade to design it? What implementation issues were encountered? There
are often good stories in here.
- Reasons for the success or failure of the work. Again, these may
draw from a number of areas.
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
by topic according to the schedule below:
Monday, April 17:
Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace
Programming Languages of the 1940s (James)
Fortran and Early High Level Languages (Boz)
Wednesday, April 19:
The Algol Family (Mason)
Friday, April 21:
Functional Programming and ML (Scotty)
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.