Design Concepts in Programming Languages

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ISBN-13: 978-0262201759
ISBN-10: 0262201755
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Editorial Reviews

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"There is a paucity of good graduate-level textbooks on the foundations of programming languages, no more than four or five in the last two decades. Nothing to compare with the profusion of excellent texts in the other core areas of computer science, such as algorithms or operating systems. This new textbook by Franklyn Turbak, David Gifford, and Mark Sheldon -- comprehensive, thorough, pedagogically innovative, impeccably written and organized -- greatly enriches the area of programming languages and will be an important reference for years to come."--Assaf Kfoury, Department of Computer Science, Boston University

(Assaf Kfoury)

"This book is an excellent, systematic exploration of ideas and techniques in programming language theory. The book carefully, but without wasting time on extraneous complications, explains operational and denotational semantic techniques, and their application to many aspects of programming language design. It will be of great value for graduate courses and for self study."--Gary T. Leavens, School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Central Florida

(Gary Leavens)

"There is a paucity of good graduate-level textbooks on the foundations of programming languages, no more than four or five in the last two decades. Nothing to compare with the profusion of excellent texts in the other core areas of computer science, such as algorithms or operating systems. This new textbook by Franklyn Turbak, David Gifford, and Mark Sheldon comprehensive, thorough, pedagogically innovative, impeccably written and organized greatly enriches the area of programming languages and will be an important reference for years to come." Assaf Kfoury , Department of Computer Science, Boston University



"This book is an excellent, systematic exploration of ideas and techniques in programming language theory. The book carefully, but without wasting time on extraneous complications, explains operational and denotational semantic techniques, and their application to many aspects of programming language design. It will be of great value for graduate courses and for self study." Gary T. Leavens , School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Central Florida

About the Author

Franklyn Turbak is an Associate Professor in the Computer Science Department at Wellesley College. David Gifford is Professor of Computer Science and Engineering and Head of the Computational Genomics Research Group in the Computer Science and Artificial Laboratory at MIT. Mark Sheldon is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Computer Science Department at Wellesley College.

Mark A. Sheldon is Visiting Assistant Professor in the Computer Science Department at Wellesley College.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1352 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press (July 18, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262201755
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262201759
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 1.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,169,830 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Eugene Kirpichov on March 22, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book is about various concepts encountered in various kinds of programming languages: denotational and operational (BOS/SOS) semantics, issues of state and control, type systems, modules, modeling effects and compilation.
Every concept is introduced by defining the semantics of a language that has this concept and exploring the design dimensions and issues of this concept and language.
Concepts are gradually accumulated, and by the time you reach the chapter on modules you've got a CBV language with records, mutable state, polymorphic algebraic data types, a System F type system with type inference and a hint of dependent types, abstract data types and first-class dynamically loadable modules.

The tools used for description are of course the good old denotational and operational semantics and typing judgements and derivation trees; but each element of those is clearly and succintly described in text; it happens to me all the time that I am reading a type reconstruction algorithm and wondering, "why does this rule have that restriction?" and it immediately turns out that in the next paragraph, the authors focus attention on why this rule has that restriction; just like if they were reading my thoughts.
That's why this book feels very comfortable to me: I am absolutely sure that I won't encounter a point where I am lost and buried under the notation; but there is also not a single boring moment.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By S. Saha on January 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you want to pursue PL in any detail, you might as well buy this book now because very soon most schools are going to start using it/recommending it as a text in grad-level intro PL courses. I used Winskell in grad school and had forgotten most of it. This book is definitely more accessible and covers a lot more material and is much more up-to-date with current research. It's a lot of fun to read and I predict its going to become *the* book in its field very shortly.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Josip Gracin on February 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Really wonderful book, well-written, easy to read, covers many topics. Very formal and yet so readable. All code within the book is written in s-exps syntax, and the book covers topics such as type inference, monads etc. Need I say more? :-)
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Konstantin Solomatov on January 6, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The content of the book is great. It covers almost every important aspects of programming languages you might works with on introductory level of detail.

However there are a some problems with the book:
- the accompanying site doesn't contain promised content (proof of theorems, implementations of pedagogical languages, etc).
- the book uses awful s-expression notation, which is unreadable compared to modern programming language
- it doesn't explain axiomatic semantics
- the book is too long because of large number of exercises which could have been moved to the site
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael Sullivan on January 22, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great book!
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