Here you can find the course news, reproduced from the individual
Monday, October 7, 2002:
- Does anyone read the class news (the
summary of the notes from the outlines) or should I stop making
- No, I still haven't finished grading.
- Very few of you sent me notes on group work. Please do so by the
end of the day today.
- I'll create groups by Wednesday. To make it easier for me to
create groups, each of you must send me the following information
by 5pm today (anyone who doesn't gets put in the "doesn't respond
to requests group"):
- Your expertise/comfort with Java on a 6 point scale
(1=barely able to use it; 6=Java wizard)
- Your expertise/comfort with assembly code on a 6 point scale
(1="I think I've heard of it"; 6=program as well in assembly
as any other language)
- Your comfort with the material in the class
(1="ummmm..."; 6="I could teach this class")
Friday, October 4, 2002:
- I've finally figured out how to stop vim (vi-munged) from
highlighting my search text everywhere it appears. Yay!
- I've rearranged the topics in the syllabus to accomodate the extra
time we spent on predictive parsing.
- I'm not assigning the parser until next week so that you have time
to student other parsing techniques.
- You should, however, use the weekend to read the Red Dragon book
to gain further understanding.
- The Putnam Mathematics Exam (a full day of challenging mathematical
problems) is on Saturday, 7 December, from 9am to 5pm.
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org
to sign up.
- You're guaranteed to do at least as well as I did when I took it
twenty years ago.
Wednesday, October 2, 2002:
- Since I'd advocated that you take a stand on Darby, I started doing
my own investigating, including asking for the recent document that
specifies costs of various alternatives for athletics. Unfortunately,
that document does not include the cost of moving Darby. I talked to
Vice President Brand and he indicated that it's less a matter of cost
and more a matter of feasibility (
If you move it, it will collapse.)
- Does this mean Darby must come down? No. It means we must consider
- As part of a community, you need to accept that different people
will make different tradeoffs. A centralized campus center and
dining facility can help Grinnell attract students, ease congestion
problems at meal times, and (eventually) cut costs. It is also a
type of building that people like to donate for.
- You can (and should) actively advocate other positions.
- Since group work is one of the emphases of this class, I'd like each
of you to send me a short (one-three paragraph) note on how you felt
phase 1 of the project went. Did you mostly work together or build
separate parts? Was the workload even or uneven? How can I support
- I think that I've come up with a language not amenable to predictive
anbn or ancn
- Here's the grammar
S -> B
S -> C
B -> a B b
B -> epsilon
C -> a C c
C -> epsilon
- Note that extra "peek-ahead" won't help, since we can always require an
arbitrary amount of peek-ahead.
- The problem: we rely on the program stack to keep track of what things
are left to match. We'll learn an alternative today.
Monday, September 30, 2002:
- Are there any questions on
- No, I have not yet graded
- Yes, you will soon get to start on the next phase of your compiler.
- You may choose to build a predictive parser.
- You may choose to build a shift-reduce parser.
- I haven't done much
rabble rousing this semester, so ...
The faculty are making motions about the strategic planning steering
committee today. Has student government made any comments on
student or staff representation on that committee? It should.
Friday, September 27, 2002:
- Oh boy! Class 13 falls on a Friday. Luck is with us.
- Microsoft has just released
vision of the future. I particularly like the idea of voice
mail over email. As one colleague suggested,
Several contributors to the Slashdot commentary on this story are
looking forward to the arrival of spam in the Cubicle of the Future,
complete with Active X controls that crank up the volume before rendering
those invitations to [spam topic of your choice].
- I brought poptarts and pudding today.
Wednesday, September 25, 2002:
- My CS151 students reported little help from UCs with their CGI homework.
While UCs are not expected to be able to help with homework, I'm
surprised that thsoe of you who were in MathLAN couldn't help.
- Are there final questions on
the lexical analyzer?
Monday, September 23, 2002:
- Are there questions on phase 1
of the project?
- Don't forget: Informal proofs due today. (You were to prove
that the grammar from Friday represents the language of
strings of a's and b's with equal numbers of a's and b's.)
- I do expect to see you in lab tomorrow, although I'm still deciding
what the subject of the lab should be.
- A set of notes on
my sample context-sensitive grammar should be available soon.
- I've been asked to remind you that the Preservation Hall Jazz Band
plays at 8pm tomorrow night in Herrick.
Friday, September 20, 2002:
- Happy Family Weekend! Welcome to any families attending class.
- Are there questions on
phase 1 of the project?
- I've updated the due date to Friday, since you requested that we use
Friday as our standard due date.
- I'm working on more detailed notes for yesterday's class. Unfortunately,
dealing with an administrative snafu took up all of yesterday.
- In case you hadn't figured it out yet, you should have started chapter
4 of the red dragon. Since this is an upper-level course and we're
following topics more-or-less in order, I'll assume that you can figure
out what to read.
- Quiz: You know how to write a CFG for
bn (or at
least I think you do). How about
strings of ?
b's with equal
Wednesday, September 17, 2002:
- For the second week in a row, I'll remind you that
Lab Attendance is Required!.
Attendance includes showing up on time.
- I'd like to know who each of you is planning to work with on
phase 1 of the project.
- Are there any questions on that phase of the project?
- I checked with my wise colleagues, and they all agree that there is
no particularly concise way to represent the language of strings of
digits with no repeated digits.
- Quiz: When is lexing ambiguous in Pascal (other than the potential of
including a minus sign as the leading value in a number)?
- I'll be showing up for Algorithms again today. You should be able to
find me in the office before Algorithms.
Monday, September 16, 2002:
- Quick quiz: Where in Pascal can you not tell immediately whether a
character read is part of the current token?
- Congratulations to Senator French (or is that the Senator from France?).
- Are there any questions on homework 1?
- Don't forget the Math/CS picnic on Friday!
- Is anyone bringing parents to class on Friday?
- Yes, I know that last year's notes occasionally appear in these pages.
I'll get rid of them eventually.
- I'll be hanging out in
Algorithms class from 2:15-3:05 this week.
- As many of you have probably noted, different people learn and understand
material differently. Some people learn best from formal nootation; others
learn well from casual analysis; still others learn best from examples.
- I try to balance the ways in which I teach things. Let me know
if I can better serve your best learning style.
Friday, September 13, 2002:
- If you have not done so already, please start reading Chapter 4 of
the Red Dragon.
- I plan to email you about the project later today.
Wednesday, September 11, 2002:
- A few of you didn't show up to lab yesterday and didn't warn me in
advance. That's a no no.
- The CS picnic is next Friday, Sept. 20th. Please sign up for the
picnic. (And yes, you can bring your parents, but include a note to
- I plan to assign the lexical analyzer on Friday or Monday.
Monday, September 9, 2002:
- In lab tomorrow, we'll explore regular expressions in the Unix
- In preparation for the first phase of your compiler, you should look
for a list of tokens in Pascal.
Friday, September 6, 2002:
- We'll have class Monday in 2428 so that Marc C. can let his Calculus
class play with our computers.
- I've added links to the previous versions of this class to the links
on most of the pages in the course, in case you want to see what we
did the last two times I taught this course.
- I finally remembered to update the
class news. Sorry for the delay.
Wednesday, September 4, 2002:
- How did the first lab go?
- Don't forget to send me some sample Pascal programs.
- Is anyone having difficulty with the ECA?
- My plan for the semester is to have you write Pascal compilers in Java.
I'm still deciding on an appropriate target language.
- Quick survey: How many of you have used regular expressions?
- Don't forget to fill out the
- I'll respond to questions once you've all filled it out.
Monday, September 2, 2002:
- I've updated the
course at a glance.
- I still need to add due dates and exams.
- You don't need to do anything to prepare for lab tomorrow.
- I'm still working on the Electronic Course Assistant.
- Don't forget to fill out the
Friday, August 30, 2002:
- The course web (including syllabus and course at a glance) is much
rougher than I'd like. Expect it to change a lot in the next few days.
- I've been writing experimental software to use for quizzes, submissions,
and such. Let me know when you encounter problems.
- Yes, you need to accept the unverified certificate.
Since this page changes so frequently, no history is available.