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Alice E. Fischer

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The Semantics of Programming Languages
The syntax of a language is far less important than the interpretation that the compiler gives to that syntax. Languages that are similar on the surface can have vastly different properties depending on how the elements of a program are translated. The area of semantics includes the study of the rules for type checking, resolution of permitted ambiguity, object definition, function method definition, and the nature of the underlying execution model.
Object-Oriented Design
Good design of any sort requires planning based on thorough understanding of the needs of the client and the capabilities of the implementation language and system. Modern OO style incorporates a set of principles that guide the ways that object classes interact. The goal is to build complex systems out of components that are relatively simple and often reusable.
Teaching Computer Science and Programming
Skill in programming and program design requires much more than knowing the syntax of a language and how to use a compiler. Some aspects of computer expertise are well covered by today's textbooks and curricula. Other aspects are more like an art than like a science: we can give guidelines and sound advice about style and method, but we can provide very few rules for skilled practice. I am interested in developing instructional materials and lab experiences that will help a student develop comprehension and mature skill.
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