CS 491/591: Advanced Scheme Programming and Implementation *

Instructor: Lance Williams <williams@cs.unm.edu>
Time: Tues. Thurs. 5:00-6:00
Location: FEC 349
Office Hours: Mon. 4:00-5:00, Tues. 2:00-3:00.
Office: FEC 349


I'd rather write programs to write programs than write programs. -D. Sites
What I cannot create I do not understand. - R. Feynman
After a quick review of the basic features of the Scheme programming language, we will explore advanced language features not normally covered in CS 257. These include macros, lazy evaluation, streams, continuation passing style, and call/cc. We'll also look at the lambda calculus and the Y-combinator. The bulk of the course will focus on implementation of Scheme interpreters and compilers. Topics will include scanning, parsing, evaluation, macro-expansion, compilation, and garbage collection. Each student will write a working Scheme interpreter or compiler in a non-garbage-collected language (e.g., C). Undergraduates who have taken CS 257, and who want to learn more about Scheme and its implementation are welcome to take CS 491. Graduate students who have taken CS 257 (or have equivalent proficiency in Scheme) are welcome to take CS 591.


The text for the course will be Scheme and the Art of Programming by George Springer and Daniel P. Friedman (MIT Press, 1989). You may purchase a copy of the text at the Engineering Copy Center which is located on the first floor of Farris Engineering Center. You might also want to look at The Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs by Harold Abelson and Gerald Jay Sussman with Julie Sussman (2nd edition, MIT Press, 1996) which is available online in its entirety. This is the introductory programming text used at MIT.

Related Material

The R5RS Manual describes the Scheme standard. Teach Yourself Scheme in Fixnum Days by Dorai Sitaram is also useful. The Scheme Programming Language: ANSI Scheme by R. Kent Dybvig, (2nd Edition, Prentice Hall, 1996) is available online in its entirety. So is On Lisp by Paul Graham. Finally, if you are going to program in C, you will probably need a copy of The C Programming Language by Kernighan and Richie.

Course Topics

Programming Projects**


Scheme Interpreter/Compiler Contest




* This page can be found at http://www.cs.unm.edu/~williams/cs491s06.html
** There will be LOTS of hacking to do! Don't take this course if you don't like to code!
*** This prize provided courtesy of Prof. Stefanovic.