Spring 2014: 6.945 (grad H), 6.S081 (AUS)

Adventures in Advanced Symbolic Programming

Officially: Large-scale Symbolic Systems

3-0-9, Grad H Level, AI Concentration

Gerald Jay Sussman, Robert L. McIntyre


Concepts and techniques for the design and implementation of large software systems that can be adapted to uses not anticipated by the designer. Applications include compilers, computer-algebra systems, deductive systems, and some artificial intelligence applications. Means for decoupling goals from strategy. Mechanisms for implementing additive data-directed invocation. Working with partially-specified entities. Managing multiple viewpoints. Topics include combinators, generic operations, pattern matching, pattern-directed invocation, rule systems, backtracking, dependencies, indeterminacy, memoization, constraint propagation, and incremental refinement. Substantial weekly programming assignments are an integral part of the subject.

There will be extensive programming assignments, using MIT/GNU Scheme. Students should have significant programming experience in Scheme, Common Lisp, Haskell, CAML or other "functional" language.

This subject is appropriate for undergraduates who have the prerequisite experience.


Prerequisites: 6.034, or comparable programming experience.
Time: MWF 11:00AM - Noon
Room: 35-310


Class materials:


Reference documentation: