Evaluation Comments
Course:Formal Semantics of Programming Languages

Quarter:Autumn 12/13
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.   Riely was very good at helping students with their assignments for this course. We regurally got feedback with in less then 24 hours on any problems with the assignments. Some of the assignments seemed very abstract and I did not always understand how some exercises connect to real life programming (especially the hoare exercise).
2.   His interest in the topic was a plus.
3.   Good understanding of the area

What aspects of this course were most beneficial to you?

1.   I found the Logic chapter to be most beneficial.
3.   The logical way to analyze/proof a problem

What do you suggest to improve this course?

1.   I would love to see an exercise where we prove something about a c/java program. Would help connect the class better back to programming. I would remove the hoare chapter, but maybe that is because I struggled with understanding it.
2.   1 - Clearer explanation of assignments. 2 - Use the native COQ IDE through the local machine. The issues experienced with EMACS and trying to get all that to work was distracting and made following some of the examples difficult.The last night of class with the white board description of what was going on was the best of all the lectures.

Comment on the grading procedures and exams

1.   I think that the current pattern of having this class consist entirely of assignments is great, I think this is the best way to teach this class.

Other comments?

1.   I liked how the class thought about proves and program provers (coq). I think that it was a great mix.
2.   The majority of the class was spent on the application, COQ, being used and not the actual topic of the class. I learned very little about programming semantics which is disappointing.