ITECH5403 Language Design Essay Assignment

Subject Code & Title : ITECH5403 Language Design
Assignment Type : Essay Assignment
This assignment will test your knowledge of programming language design features, and is worth 20% of your marks for this course.
ITECH5403 Language Design Essay Assignment

ITECH5403 Language Design Essay Assignment

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/or try/catch exception handling and those which do not,
• Provide diverse and comprehensive suites of built-in functionality and those with a more limited set of features,
• 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 programming language for the problem domain of:

Scientific Computations :
• Scientific computations are used to simulate real-world activities using mathematical models.
• This is mainly achieved through the analysis of mathematical models implemented on computers.
• Virtually any objects with known characteristics can be modelled and simulated.
• Simulations use enormous calculations and often require supercomputer speed.
• As personal computers became more powerful, laboratory experiments can be converted into computer models that can be interactively examined by researchers without the risk and cost of the actual experiments.
• It’s worth thinking about the aspects of a programming language designed for scientific applications in terms of a number of features, including :
• Performance;
• Data types and structures;
• Maintenance / Reliability of code; and
• Security requirements.

ITECH5403 Language Design Essay

With this in mind your task is to theoretically design a language suitable for the use within the scientific calculations 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 problem do main 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 legitimate 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.

Your essay should NOT be about the C/C++ or FORTRAN programming languages or any programming language that currently exists. Your essay must be on the programming language THAT YOU DESIGN in terms of the features the language should have and the choices you make about what functionality data types compilation interpretation exception handling etc. that you decide should be included in the language to make it suitable for the specific problem domain.

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