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BSc Computer Science and Mathematics / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Programming Languages & Paradigms

Course unit fact file
Unit code COMP26020
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Full year
Available as a free choice unit? No


There is a variety of programming languages designed with different features aiming to address different types of problems. The unit is an advanced course for students who have already mastered one programming language. It is trying to consider the broad spectrum of different programming paradigms and how these can be used and translated.


Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Introduction to Programming 1 COMP16321 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Introduction to Programming 2 COMP16412 Pre-Requisite Compulsory

COMP16321 and COMP16412 are pre-requisites for COMP26020


To provide advanced coverage of the main programming paradigms used in computing, how they differ, how they can be used and translated.



Learning outcomes

Design, implement, modify, test, debug and evaluate programs in C, C++, Solidity and Haskell
Compare and contrast the appropriateness of various programming languages and paradigms with respect to real-world problems
Explain the advantages and disadvantages of functional programming with respect to imperative programming
Describe the principles, outline the problems, and discuss methods and techniques applied to the compilation process
Explain the role of each of the basic components of a standard compiler
Write C/C++ code conforming to best practice
Explain the impact of concurrency or blockchain on programming
Identify the impact of modern trends in programming languages



The course unit will be structured according according to 4 complementary parts:
Part I: Overview and the imperative programming paradigm: C, C++
Overview of the main programming paradigms: imperative vs declarative, structured, object-oriented, concurrent, functional
Structured imperative programming in C
Syntax, type system, control flow, build/debugging tools
Dynamic memory allocation, pointers
Introduction to Object Oriented programming in C++
Polymorphism and Inheritance
C/C++ use cases
high performance computing, systems/kernel programming
Memory (un)safety in C/C++ programs, memory errors: vulnerabilities, attacks, defenses
Part II: Functional programming: Haskell
Basic concepts of functional programming: datatypes and recursive functions
Haskell basics
List comprehension, Case study: sorting algorithms
Trees, Case study: binary search trees, red-black trees
Using higher-order functions: lambda, map, fold
Type classes
Lazy Evaluation
Case study: Parser combinators
Part III: Compilation of Programming Languages
Introduction: What is a compiler, high-level view of compilation, a general structure of a compiler.
The Front-End: Lexical analysis, syntax analysis, semantic analysis
The Middle-End: Intermediate representation, code optimisation
The Back-End: Code generation
Part IV: Advanced Topics
Introduction to Solidity
Concurrent Execution
Blockchains and Smart Contracts
Contemporary Trends in Languages

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures: 44 in total, 2 x 1 hour per week
Laboratories:  2-hour sessions every fortnight (10 hours per Semester, 20 hours in total)
Feedback: Formative feedback based on assessment of solutions to small problems. Feedback is also provided by teaching assistants in the laboratory.
Assessment: one 2-hour exam at the end of the module.

Knowledge and understanding


Practical skills

Analytical skills
Problem solving

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Written exam 70%
Written assignment (inc essay) 30%

Feedback methods

Feedback through marking

Recommended reading

COMP26020 reading list can be found on the Department of Computer Science internal pages

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 44
Practical classes & workshops 20
Independent study hours
Independent study 136

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Rizos Sakellariou Unit coordinator

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