McMaster University
Functional Programming

Comp Sci 3FP3, Term 2 2020/21


Term 2: Monday, Thursday 12:30-13:20, Tues 13:30-14:20, online


Friday 1:30-2:30, Virtual


Dr. J. Carette, ITB-168 , ext 26869, email:

I can be reached most easily via the class Discord (see Avenue for details), email, or right after class. Please make an appointment to see me if you have specific questions.

Teaching Assistant

Jason Balaci (balacij)

Course Objectives

The calendar description says: Functional programming; lists and algebraic data types, pattern matching, parametric polymorphism, higher-order functions, reasoning about programs; lazy and strict evaluation; programming with monads; domain-specific languages. However, as most of these things have been somewhat covered in COMPSCI 1JC3, the material will here be covered in much more depth.

There will be no official textbook. However The Craft of Functional Programming by Simon Thompson still contains useful material.


Will be posted soon. But generally, all the material from 2DM3 and 2FA3 will be assumed, as well as a certain 'programming maturity'.
  1. Students should know and understand:
    1. Logical Formalism
    2. Calculational Proofs in Propositional and Predicate Logic
    3. Induction, Recursion
    4. Discrete Structures: Sets, Functions, Relations
    5. Abstract data types
    6. The basics of Haskell (first 1/2 of Thompson book).
  2. Students should be able to
    1. Write programs in imperative and OO languages
    2. Write programs in Haskell
    3. Debug programs
    4. Use the command line to call compilers and other tools

Learning Objectives

  1. Students should know and understand
    1. What parametric polymorphism is
    2. The difference between lazy and strict evaluation
    3. Understand overloading (type classes)
    4. Understand various ways of dealing with effects
    5. Understand the members of the typeclassopedia
    6. Understand GADTs and kinds
    7. Understand recursion schemes
  2. Students should be able to
    1. Use lists and other algebraic data types to solve problems
    2. Use pattern-matching on ADTs
    3. Give general types for their functions
    4. Use and create higher-order functions
    5. Reason about the correctness of their functions
    6. Write properties that their functions should satisfy
    7. Use randomized testing
    8. Use monads (and do notation) for encapsulating effects
    9. Build small DSLs and interpreters for them
    10. Be able to use Optics for a variety of tasks
    11. Be able to do simple meta-programming with Template Haskell.

Note that not all objectives will be measured for marks.

Graduate Attributes

Some of the graduate attributes below will be measured (probably most), in some fashion. These are measurements for the purposes of understanding your overall state in terms of the attributes which the CEAB deems important for engineers (and will be done even though you are in CS). Some will be measured through assignments, presentations and deliverables (and worth marks), while others will be done via other means not directly tied to course marks.


Section to be completed.

Electronic Materials

The latest version of this outline and the most "up-to date" information as well as hand-outs can be found on the course web page. (Or go to my home page and then to the course page). Avenue will be used for handing in assignments. Discord will be used for further coordination.


The assignments will be worth 50%, two midterms (each 15%) and a final worth 20%. More specifically, there will be 5 assignments, each worth 10%. The final exam covers the whole course.

As usual, there will be (significant) bonus parts on the assignments.

Marking schemes will be strict: code that does not compile will be worth very few marks (if any). You will be better off submiting a partial implementation that compiles that one that is 'almost done' but doesn't typecheck.

Each assignment will have a rubric with more details on how it will be graded. If grades need to be adjusted, most commonly the denominator will be reduced, i.e. some questions will be made 'bonus'.

MSAF on assignments will always be a 4 day extension from the original due date regardless of when it is submitted. MSAFs on midterms will be handled on a case-by-case basis. Late assignments are not accepted (without an MSAF).


Schedule Changes

At certain points in the course it may make good sense to modify the schedule. The instructor may modify elements of the course and will notify students accordingly (using the standard communication mechanisms used for the class).


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January 2021