Functional Programming Principles in Scala

Martin Odersky, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

Learn about functional programming, and how it can be effectively combined with object-oriented programming. Gain practice in writing clean functional code, using the Scala programming language.

This course introduces the cornerstones of functional programming using the Scala programming language. Functional programming has become more and more popular in recent years because it promotes code that’s safe, concise, and elegant. Furthermore, functional programming makes it easier to write parallel code for today’s and tomorrow’s multiprocessors by replacing mutable variables and loops with powerful ways to define and compose functions.

Scala is a language that fuses functional and object-oriented programming in a practical package. It interoperates seamlessly with Java and its tools. Scala is now used in a rapidly increasing number of open source projects and companies. It provides the core infrastructure for sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Tumblr, and Klout.

In this course you will discover the elements of the functional programming style and learn how to apply them usefully in your daily programming tasks. You will also develop a solid foundation for reasoning about functional programs, by touching upon proofs of invariants and the tracing of execution symbolically.

The course is hands on; most units introduce short programs that serve as illustrations of important concepts and invite you to play with them, modifying and improving them. The course is complemented by a series of assignments, most of which are also programming projects.

Syllabus

Week One: Programming paradigms; overview of functional programming and the Scala programming language. Week Two: Defining and using functions, recursion and non-termination, working with functions as values, reasoning by reduction.  Week Three: Defining and using immutable objects, review of inheritance and dynamic binding. Week Four: Types and Pattern Matching Week Five: Working with Lists Week Six: Collections and Combinatorial Search Week Seven: Lazy Evaluation

Recommended Background

You should have at least one year programming experience. Proficiency with Java or C# is ideal, but experience with other languages such as C/C++, Python, Javascript or Ruby is also sufficient.

Suggested Readings

The class is designed to be self-contained. For further reading on some of the ideas in the course, we recommend Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs - 2nd Edition (MIT Electrical Engineering and Computer Science) by Abelson and Sussman, published by MIT Press. For learning more about Scala, we recommend Programming in Scala: A Comprehensive Step-by-Step Guide, 2nd Edition by Odersky, Spoon and Venners, published by Artima Press, or else Scala for the Impatient, by Horstmann, published by Addison Wesley.

Course Format

The class will consist of lecture videos, which are between 6 and 15 minutes in length. These contain integrated quiz questions per video. There will also be standalone homeworks that are not part of video lectures.

FAQ

  • Will I get a certificate after completing this class?

    Yes. Students who successfully complete the class will receive a certificate signed by the instructor.

  • What resources will I need for this class?

    You should have the following installed: - Java Virtual Machine JDK 1.6 or higher. - A Scala distribution version 2.9 or higher The recommended development environment for the course is the Scala IDE for Eclipse. It comes with a Scala distribution so if you intend to work only in Eclipse you just need to install the Scala IDE.

  • What is the coolest thing I'll learn if I take this class?

    Write elegant code that works the first time it is run.

Dates:
  • 15 September 2014, 7 weeks
  • 25 April 2014, 7 weeks
  • 16 September 2013, 7 weeks
  • 25 March 2013, 7 weeks
  • 18 September 2012, 7 weeks
  • Date to be announced, 7 weeks
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  • Language: English Gb

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