Evaluation Comments
Course:Compiler Design

Quarter:Winter 10/11
Time: W 17:45 - 21:00
Location: Loop Campus
James Riely PhD

Associate Professor
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Summary     1       2       3       

What are the major strengths and weaknesses of the instructor?

1.   Good level of engagement with the students. Not afraid to admit when he is mistaken on occasion. He did a good job of stimulating interest in what is quite a dry subject.
2.   A tendency to get derailed from the subject matter on to SE 450 matters - admittedly, the drawbacks of the book made it difficult to do otherwise. I also got an impression that the instructor was a not fully engaged in teaching the course. It could well simply have been a matter of style, however.I personally found the pace to be a little slow, and found myself regularly wanting the presented material to fly a bit higher over the basics than it often did.

What aspects of this course were most beneficial to you?

1.   I gained a much better understanding of how program languages are compiled, which gave me a better understanding of compilation errors.
2.   Learning how automata can be used to comprehend complex input. What logical components a compiler can be broken down into. How some peculiar bits of syntax in languages can be understood as a convenience for the compiler writer's sanity. How to move from an AST to code generation (this is not yet achieved; if it is achieved I think it will be significant to me).

What do you suggest to improve this course?

1.   A better text book.
2.   A better book and more coverage of advanced topics (implying faster pacing). I found the preparation of CSC 447 and SE 450 to be quite sufficient to fly through the basic topics, and am still looking for a bit more.

Comment on the grading procedures and exams

1.   Very fair. The take home mid-term did a good job of covering the material we had covered to date. He took a while to mark the assignments, but then did them all very promptly.

Other comments?

1.   One homework assignment was excessive in the amount of work required. It was eventually split up into two assignments, which was fairer. The rest of the assignments were of a reasonable length, and well designed, although the author of the book was not great at implementing the solutions. He is probably one of the most entertaining and engaging lecturers I have had, and gave a good review of the subject material.
2.   I really appreciated having some choice in the matter of a final project.
3.   I like cytron. I hope I can understand them much more and it will be better if we can have time to did some lab (i mean real lab)