Evaluation Comments
Course:Compiler Design

Quarter:Winter 11/12
Time: W 17:45 - 21:00
Location: Loop Campus
James Riely PhD

Associate Professor
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What are the major strengths and weaknesses of the instructor?

2.   I think Prof. Riely does a great job explaining some tricky concepts. I also like that we aren't spoon fed everything, since I feel like I learn better when it requires some struggle to get things sorted out.
4.   The professor presented well material and assignments, he also give good and detailed exploitations on the subject matter. He could have given a little more specific guidelines along the way of the project.

What aspects of this course were most beneficial to you?

1.   The small class size allowed us to effectively have a loose discussion based class to work on problems people were having with their compilers. Since we pretty much did the entire thing starting from scratch, this was extremely beneficial.
2.   I think that the compiler project was a really interesting and often times fun project to work on. It really made clear the steps that compilers go through and some of the challenges that compilers face. Each step along the way was difficult at first, but once I got the first part down it was easy to continue on.
3.   Understanding the different layers of the compiler, building each of these layers on top of one another..
4.   By learning about compilers I am now able to better understand how I should code to take advantage of compilers that I am using on daily basis.

What do you suggest to improve this course?

2.   The amount of work on the project was a little heavy. I did enjoy the work (most of the time) and found it rewarding to complete my own compiler, but it was tough to fit it all in to the quarter.
3.   As already noted, some sample outputs to make sure things are actually on track in the various stages..
4.   It would be good to have better defined intermediate steps of the project, it was hard to program up the muncher for example with out being sure of what it is supposed to output.

Comment on the grading procedures and exams

2.   N/A
3.   I like that there were no exams (as they don't really make sense with this topic), but some feedback in the middle would be helpful, again to make sure that we are on track.

Other comments?

1.   Writing everything from very little code was amazing in being able to figure out how everything fit together and worked on our own. This is important for becoming better at meta-programming and beneficial overall for any development that we may do.
2.   Overall, I like classes with projects since it really helps enforce the concepts that are covered. I liked the structure of the course, but the only comment against it is that I felt overwhelmed at times, but it didn't last that long. Prof. Riely was always available to help which was great to get through those tough points.
3.   Overall a great challenging course, though I will be happy to put away my compiler for awhile.
4.   In overall I thought that this was a great, but very challenging course. I would recommend this course to anyone willing to spent the time necessary to finish a compiler. I think that assembly knowledge should be required or quickly reviewed before this course.