Advances in Programming Languages

Welcome to Advances in Programming Languages (APL). This course is usually held in alternate years: the current session runs from September to December 2016.

Link: Advances in Programming Languages 2016 — course blog

APL is a taught course in the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh, suitable for 4th- and 5th-year undergraduates and MSc students. The course surveys recent developments in programming language design and implementation with an emphasis on technological advances on the state of the art. The course is rated as 10 credit points at level 11 in the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF).

More Information
Archive Links to websites for past versions of the course
Exams Exam details and links to past papers

The photograph at the top of the site shows a programmer working on the Pilot ACE machine, based on a design by Alan Turing and one of the first stored-program computers built in the UK. Turing wrote about how programing was likely to be important and certainly interesting work:

[Programs] will have to be made up by mathematicians with computing experience and perhaps a certain puzzle-solving ability. There will probably be a good deal of work of this kind to be done, …

This process of constructing [programs] should be very fascinating. There need be no real danger of it ever becoming a drudge, for any processes that are quite mechanical may be turned over to the machine itself.

Proposed Electronic Calculator. Alan Turing, 1945.

At the time Turing wrote this, no stored-program computer had ever been built. Even so, both of his statements are somewhat prophetic.

Links: Pilot ACE at the Science Museum; Wikipedia on ACE, Turing’s Automatic Computing Engine