ITECH5403 – Assignment 1 – Language Design Essay

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ITECH5403 – Assignment 1 – Language Design Essay
Due Date: 5pm, Friday of Week 7
This assignment will test your knowledge of programming language design features, and is worth 20% of your
non-invigilated (type A) marks for this course.
Topic Overview
Since the development of Plankalkül back in the 1940s, a large number of programming languages have been
designed and implemented – each for its own specific problem domains and made with its own set of design
decisions and compromises. For example there are languages which:
 Are strongly typed and loosely typed,
 Provide support for object orientation / abstraction of data types,
 Use static or dynamic scoping rules,
 Provide memory management (i.e. garbage collection) or allow the developer fine-grained control over
heap-allocation and recycling,
 Provide closures to allow functions to be passed around like variables,
 Allow easy access to array slices and those which do not,
 Perform internal correctness checking of data and those which do not,
 Provide diverse and comprehensive suites of built-in functionality and those with a more limited set of
 Use pre-processors and macros to selectively expand or substitute source code, etc.
Each of these decisions can have a profound effect on the usefulness of a programming language in terms of
factors such as its speed, robustness and general suitability to create programs of a certain type, such as for
operating systems, or in the areas of business, scientific computation, artificial intelligence or video games.
The topic of your essay is to design a language for the problem domain of Banking.
Banking encompasses a number of areas including aspects of business, finance, and customer relations. It is
worth thinking about the aspects of a banking system in terms of a number of features, including:
 Performance;
 Use and precision of data types and structures;
 Maintenance of code;
 Flexibility of design and implementation; and
 Robustness requirements in such a critical domain.
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Even though security aspects are worth considering, the features of the language are the primary concern in
this essay.
With this in mind your task is to theoretically design a language suitable for the use within the banking domain.
The actual implementation of the language and tool set is obviously outside the scope of this course, but you
must express and justify the design decisions behind your programming language in terms of:
 The features and functionality that will allow your language to be suitable and useful within the banking
domain (including what differentiates it from existing languages),
 The programming paradigms, such as procedural, object oriented, logic and functional programming.
You are free to design your language to be either interpreted, compiled or to work in a hybrid manner, but you
must thoroughly justify your decision.
All language design choices must be sound, rational decisions which are backed up by robust discussion of
the subject area. In addition, your document should include numerous references to back up any and all
specific claims that you make. All references should be made in the APA referencing style.
Submission and Marking Process
Your essay should be between 3,000 and 4,000 words inclusive and may contain diagrams or images as you
see fit. All diagrams, charts, images or other externally created materials incorporated into your essay must be
appropriately referenced.
You may supply your completed essay in either Word or LibreOffice/OpenOffice format in which the document
can be edited – no proprietary Mac specific formats, please.
Assignments will be marked on the basis of fulfilment of the requirements and the quality of the work.
In addition to the marking criteria, marks may be deducted for failure to comply with the assignment
requirements, including (but not limited to):
 Incomplete language feature coverage,
 Incomplete submissions (e.g. missing subject areas – see the marking guide),
 Poor spelling and grammar, and
 Incorrect adherence to the APA referencing style.
Submit your document to the Assignment 1 Upload location on Moodle before the deadline of Friday of week 7
at 5pm.
The mark distribution for this assignment is outlined in the provided marking sheet on the following page.
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ITECH5403 – Comparative Programming Languages
Assignment 1 – Language Design Essay
Student name: Student ID:

Requirement Weight Mark
– Introduction and explanation of language purpose. 10
– Choice and justification of interpretation/compilation method(s) to be used. 10
– Discussion of memory management and scoping features. 10
– Specification and rationale for major language features in terms of:
– Simplicity,
– Orthogonality,
– Data types,
– Syntax design,
– Support for abstraction,
– Expressivity,
– Type checking
– Exception handling, and
– Restricted aliasing.
– Discussion of the readability, writability and reliability of the language based
on the language characteristics as chosen.
– References and APA referencing style.
– Spelling and grammar.
Assignment mark total/ 100
Contribution to unit mark (out of 20%) %