50% done

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Posted by: stak
Posted on: 2007-04-12 23:29:40

So, I'm 50% done my exams.. only CS 444 (compilers) and PSYCH 101 left. Saturday at 10pm, I will be free of all university obligations. Possibly earlier if I finish my psych final early, which is likely... it's a bunch of multiple choice questions.

Compilers seems like a kind of broken course - it almost has a split personality disorder. One part of the course is the lectures/final, where we learn the theory of compilers - different parsing techniques, analysis, code generation, etc.. The final exam does seem somewhat non-trivial and is worth 30% of the course mark.

The other part of the course is the compiler project. We write code like crazy, using little to none of the stuff taught in the theory part of the course (either because it's taught too late or is too complex to actually implement in the time given). The project is worth 70% of the final mark (10% for the first two submissions each, with 50% for the final compiler submission).

The problem is that for the project, we get basically zero feedback and are basically flying blind. We got back a mark for the first submission. We still haven't gotten back a mark for the second submission, never mind the final. Heck, we didn't even get a response to a question we asked the TAs a couple of months ago regarding our mark for the first submission.

With the TAs handling the project half, and the prof handling the lecture half, and almost no connection between the two, it seems like we ended up learning a lot less in the course than we should have. :( Ah well, it was a good introduction to writing a real compiler, and I want to write a fully functional compiler for a non-dead language (i.e. Java) in the near future.

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