Language Explore Project

In the Language Explore Project, you will research a programming language of your own choice, learn the language and write a few programs in it, and make a presentation to share it with the rest of the class.

The criterions for the language you may choose are:

  1. Nobody in your group can already have in-depth familiarity with the language. The purpose of this project is to learn a new programming language, and I don’t want you to explore a language you use frequently. It’s fine if someone has basic familiarity (maybe read a bit of code, or written a function or two), but if you’ve written more than 100 lines of code in the language, you probably have in-depth familiarity and cannot explore that language.
  2. The language cannot be esoteric. The programs you will have to implement should have reasonably complex functionality, and often times this is hard to achieve with an esoteric language.
  3. The language cannot be Python or Racket. These are the languages we are using in the course.

Languages which are very similar to what you know also may not be a prime candidate. For example, Racket is very similar to Scheme, so you would have to convince me what you would learn from exploring Scheme that you are not getting from Racket.

Find a Group, Find a Language (5 points)

Due Date:Friday, February 15 at 23:59

First, find a group you would like to work with. You should work in a group of 3 to 4 students. You are welcome to use your SlytherLisp groups [1], or create new groups.

Then, find a programming language you would like to explore that meets the criterion above. A good place to start might be a list of programming languages by category. Read up on the language, does it intrigue you enough to write a few programs in it?

Finally, email me your language selection and group selection. If I am OK with your choice of language, I will send you a link to schedule a time to demo your programs with me. Please CC all of your group members when you email me!


No more than three groups can share the same language, as I will only allow one presentation per language per presentation day. This means, I will allocate languages on a first come, first served basis. There is a chance I will tell your group to find another language if three groups have already selected.

[1]at least for groups of 3. Groups of two might have to find another group of two to pair with.

Programs (70 points)

The next part of the assignment is to write some programs in your language. Your programs should provide a demonstration of the languages features, or potentially something it’s pretty good for. For example, if you were exploring a Lisp-like language [2], you may want to write a program demonstrating symbolic computation, as Lisp is particularly good for this. As another example, if your language is really good at concurrency, you’ll definitely want to write an program which makes good use of concurrency.

I expect two to three programs of reasonable size in your submission. I’m not looking for small code snippets, but decently sized programs; think approximately the complexity of a CSCI-262 project.

Make sure to include in a comment at the top of each program with who wrote the program. If you pair programmed or the whole group contributed, make a note of that. It’s OK if programs are completed individually, I just expect that everyone in your group will have written at least one program in total.

[2]…which you probably aren’t, as it would be too similar to Racket.


Programs should be of your own work. Copying & pasting an 8-queens example from your language’s Wikipedia page will be considered plagarism. (An 8-queens program of your own work typically makes a good program though).

Presentation (25 points)

Due Date:April 16, 18, or 23 depending on your group’s presentation slot.

Make a presentation that:

  1. Briefly, introduces the programming language, its goals, and its history
  2. Classifies the language, and provides an overview of the language’s features
  3. Demonstrates what is interesting and unique about the language
  4. Demonstrates syntactic details that may make the language more expressive, but avoid describing lots of syntactic details (find a select few details that are important to the language)
  5. Briefly, demonstrate one of your programs you wrote for this assignment.

The presentation should be 9 to 12 minutes in length. You will be cut off at 12 minutes: please practice before-hand and make sure your presentation does not exceed 12 minutes.