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Compiler construction, TDA282

Status: Avslutad
Öppen för svar: 2008-05-25 - 2008-06-05
Antal svar: 19
Procent av deltagarna som svarat: 35%
Kontaktperson: Björn von Sydow»

Your own effort

1. How many hours per week did you spend on this course?

We mean total time, that is, it comprises the time you spent in class and the time you spent on your own work. Try to estimate the average time over the entire study period.

19 svarande

At most 15 hours/week»4 21%
Around 20 hours/week»9 47%
Around 25 hours/week»5 26%
Around 30 hours/week»0 0%
At least 35 hours/week»1 5%

Genomsnitt: 2.21

- Due to heavy time restrictions from other courses/work I"ve not been able to work more than around that amount of time. 15 hrs/week have been enough for me to more than pass the course without having a lab partner, (hopefully that is ,).» (At most 15 hours/week)
- Det är svårt att säga, vi satt väldigt stötvis. Men det är någonstans kring 15 timmar totalt under hela perioden.» (At most 15 hours/week)
- Varied a lot, we were done with the frontend in the first week, and had a lot of down time between frontend and backend development» (Around 25 hours/week)
- This is a very rough guess.» (Around 25 hours/week)

2. How large part of the teaching offered did you attend?

19 svarande

0%»1 5%
25%»2 10%
50%»4 21%
75%»10 52%
100%»2 10%

Genomsnitt: 3.52

- Too much of the sessions was at a to general level. It would have been much more fun if we would experience more advance things during lectures, and figured out the rest ourselves.» (50%)
- Föreläsningar som börjar 8 är inte riktigt min grej...» (50%)
- Missed one or two lectures.» (75%)
- All lectures, no exercises.» (75%)
- Really good lectures One can easily see that Björn has been teaching for a while.» (100%)

Goals and goal fulfilment

The course syllabus states the course goals in terms of learning outcomes, i.e., knowledge, skills and attitudes to be acquired by the student during the course.

3. How understandable are the course goals?

19 svarande

I have not seen/read the goals»2 10%
The goals are difficult to understand»2 10%
The goals give some guidance, but could be clearer»2 10%
The goals clearly describe what I am supposed to learn»13 68%

Genomsnitt: 3.36

- Jag trodde jag förstod målen och vad som skulle göras och hur de skulle utföras. Men det visade sig att vi inte examineras efter informationen på hemsidan. » (The goals are difficult to understand)
- Hehe, well, what I"m supposed to learn is always a tricky question, but it"s clear what you have to accomplish in order to get points, and thus a higher grade. Maybe not synonymous with learning, but some might think so.» (The goals clearly describe what I am supposed to learn)
- As supposed to write a compiler, goals couldn"t be more clear.» (The goals clearly describe what I am supposed to learn)
- Syfte och mål innehåller väl mycket om lexikal analys och typcheckning som den här kursen inte innehåller. Istället bör det stå något om att dom delarna ingår som förkunskaper från tidigare kurser.» (The goals clearly describe what I am supposed to learn)

4. Are the goals reasonable considering your background and the number of credits?

Answer this this question and the succeeding one, only if you do know the course goals.

17 svarande

No, the goals are set too low»1 5%
Yes, the goals seem reasonable»15 88%
No, the goals are set too high»1 5%

Genomsnitt: 2

- The goals themselves are not set extremely low, but due to the large overlap between this course and programming languages all the lexer/parser information is already covered. SSA, data flow analysis etc. does not, in my opinion, get enough attention during the course.» (No, the goals are set too low)
- But, the time could have been better spent. Maybe downsize javalette even further, pick a micro language, and focus on supporting stuff in the front-/backend. That would be more fun. A lot of the programming is just grunt work.» (Yes, the goals seem reasonable)
- Jag blev kastad lite ur askan i elden eftersom jag inte läst programspråk, men BNF är ingenting man inte kan lära sig på några dagar.» (Yes, the goals seem reasonable)
- A little tough, but OK.» (Yes, the goals seem reasonable)

5. Did the examination assess whether you have reached the goals?

17 svarande

No, not at all»1 5%
To some extent»2 11%
Yes, definitely»8 47%
I don"t know/have not been examined yet»6 35%

Genomsnitt: 3.11

- Absolut inte. Vi implementerade en bra bit mer än vad som behövs för betyg 5, mycket för att det var roligt. Det står INGENSTANS några begränsningar på implementationen, utan det kom först när det var dags för examinering. Det gör att man jobbar i blindo på de extension som finns, där man måste gissa sig till hur ni vill att det ska implementeras. Det är RIKTIGT svagt. » (No, not at all)
- The examination did not address compiling issues that are specific to functional- and object-oriented languages.» (To some extent)

Teaching and course administration

6. To what extent has the teaching been of help for your learning?

19 svarande

Small extent»2 10%
Some extent»5 26%
Large extent»10 52%
Great extent»2 10%

Genomsnitt: 2.63

- Jag slutade för ganska länge sedan gå på föreläsningar, så det är ingen kritik till den här föreläsningsserien eller övningarna. Det är nog mer kritik till utbildningsstrukturen på chalmers i sin helhet. » (Small extent)
- Nothing new is really brought up, just more of reforcing already known stuff.» (Some extent)
- By reading the slides I could acquire ca 90 % of the material, and the lectures cleared out all parts I had missed. Great work with the slides and presentations!» (Great extent)

7. To what extent has the the course literature and other material been of help for your learning?

19 svarande

Small extent»7 36%
Some extent»4 21%
Large extent»7 36%
Great extent»1 5%

Genomsnitt: 2.1

- Didn"t read it.» (Small extent)
- Didn"t really use it.» (Small extent)
- Teaching was sufficient to learn, but the book was a good tool for looking things up. However in this course most lookup was made on the web.» (Some extent)
- Boken är väldigt väldigt bra, framförallt lättläst för att vara amerikansk litteratur. Behövde den förvisso inte så mycket ändå.» (Some extent)
- Even though the official course book is a good book it isn"t needed for completing the assignments. The slides are a really valuable source.» (Some extent)
- The course home page was good. Didn"t read the book much in this course (I did when I did the programming language course)» (Large extent)
- mostly last years homepage.» (Large extent)
- I only read the "dragon book" during the course, but it helped me to keep up with how to implement the compiler in a non-functional language.» (Large extent)
- The course slides are good.» (Large extent)

8. How well did the course administration, web page, handouts etc work?

19 svarande

Very badly»0 0%
Rather badly»1 5%
Rather well»7 36%
Very well»11 57%

Genomsnitt: 3.52

- I like the way Björn has been setting up webpages for a long time, more teachers should follow your lead. Maybe some things are not categorized or classified as you would expect, but you get used to it.» (Rather well)
- Some of the test cases was not correct, for example many of them did not contain return statements.» (Rather well)
- The submission system link was far too invisible a lot of times. :) Mark it in brighter red or something, it got frustrating everytime I was going to use Fire.» (Rather well)
- Hemsidan var bra, det övriga har jag ingen insikt i.» (Rather well)
- RSS-strömmen gjorde ingen större nytta, borde ha använts till alla nyheter som listades på hemsidan eller inte funnits alls...» (Very well)
- On the course slides, please identify each slide by e.g. number that can be quoted when asking questions.» (Very well)

Study climate

9. How were the opportunities for asking questions and getting help?

19 svarande

Very poor»1 5%
Rather poor»1 5%
Rather good»3 15%
Very good»9 47%
I did not seek help»5 26%

Genomsnitt: 3.84

- It took way too long to get answers in the Google group at times.» (Very poor)
- The break is best for more special questions, you might consider a workshop or two along the course, that could be useful if you need specific help. Like supervised lab sessions or sit in session where you can talk about your compiler development. once or twice during the course.» (Rather good)

10. How well has cooperation between you and your fellow students worked?

19 svarande

Very poorly»0 0%
Rather poorly»3 15%
Rather well»2 10%
Very well»5 26%
I did not seek cooperation»9 47%

Genomsnitt: 4.05

- I did of course chat with my fellow students and discuss problems with for example how to interpret the Quadruples semantics, but I did the work alone. This was not because of how the course was run in any way, but a choice from my side due to problems with being able to find time to sit down and work together with someone else.» (I did not seek cooperation)
- Förutom med min labpartner då.» (I did not seek cooperation)

11. How was the course workload?

19 svarande

Too low»0 0%
Low»0 0%
Adequate»13 68%
High»5 26%
Too high»1 5%

Genomsnitt: 3.36

- A lot of grunt work. We did write our stuff in C++, and sure that is a pain in one way, but it"s still a lot of work. Supporting a smaller language would allow focusing on building the compiler instead.» (Adequate)
- One could always implement more stuff and move closer to writing for real hardware if there was time. However, the workload for someone to just pass the course (having read programming languages before) would"ve been very low!» (Adequate)
- Jag tyckte kursen var rolig, så då valde jag att lägga ner rätt mycket tid också, och därför tyckte jag det var ganska vettig arbetsbörda. Kan tänka mig att andra tyckte det var rätt mycket, det är trots allt en del som ska implementeras. » (Adequate)
- worked alone» (High)

12. How was the total workload this study period?

19 svarande

Too low»1 5%
Low»0 0%
Adequate»9 47%
High»6 31%
Too high»3 15%

Genomsnitt: 3.52

- I only took one course.» (Too low)
- Jag läste andra kurser som tog monstruöst mycket tid. Så jag har suttit någonstans kring 40-50h/vecka med bara projekt.» (Too high)

Summarizing questions

13. What is your general impression of the course?

19 svarande

Poor»0 0%
Fair»1 5%
Adequate»1 5%
Good»9 47%
Excellent»8 42%

Genomsnitt: 4.26

- Well, I"ve programmed a compiler, and I"ve gotten some insight into what that means. But I"ve cant say that I"ve seen any bleeding edge or cutting edge stuff.» (Adequate)
- Course taught how to write your own compiler, which was exactly what I was expecting. Teaching relevant to the subject, and no problem seeking help when needed.» (Excellent)
- Awesome course, I"ll recommend it.» (Excellent)
- It quickly became my favourite course during my 4 years at Chalmers so far! To mix graph-colouring-algorithms with "low level" hardware instructions is simply brilliant. I would personally prefer more of the later half of the course, the one briefly mentioning SSA, flow analysis etc. » (Excellent)
- Kursen är väldigt bra i sin helhet. Klart en av de bäst utformade kurserna jag läst på Chalmers.» (Excellent)

14. What should definitely be preserved to next year?

- The overall structure is good.»
- The project»
- Data-flow analysis and code generation for JVM/Quad»
- The project.»
- The project, and the lecture about functional languages.»
- lecture sessions but more goals and practical work oriented.»
- Strukturen på projektet är helt lysande, att man kan lägga tid på de delarna man tycker är intressanta. Det kanske ska nämnas någonstans att man bör fundera igenom vad man vill åstadkomma innan man börjar backend implementeringen. Det blir rätt knappt med tid om man både ska implementera jvm och quadruples. »
- Det mesta.»
- Keep the recap concerning lexing- and parsing tools. This is probably necessary for a student who did not take the Programming Languages course the previous study period.»

15. What should definitely be changed to next year?

- More focus on compiler construction, less focus on grammar and parsing.»
- Put more effort into describing the details of possible optimisations -- shorten the time for the front-end»
- One could argue that parsing and the BNF converter should have been covered in the Programming Languages course, and thus be skipped in this course.»
- Make it much clearer that an annotating type checker is essential for the rest of the project. I had to rewrite my type checker completely.»
- The number of example programs, add more.»
- limit of the project, because in this period we have 2 course and both are project related course, so it very difficult to manage all this and that why i couldnt compelete the compiler project. and because this is only the project related course. I didnt get any credit for this course. There should be labs sessions for helping the student at regular basis. tutorials should be provide.»
- Shift the early material into the programming language course and have it as a prerequisite (if something is not covered there), and add more of the funny compiler course specific information. (SSA, data flow analysis, other-things-we-didn"t-hear-about, ...)»
- Betygssystemet måste verkligen bli tydligare. Det är helt oacceptabelt att skriva ett betygssystem på hemsidan och sedan använda ett annat i verkligheten. »
- En översyn av exempelfiler och listan över utökningar till labben. När det är tänkt att man ska lära sig delar av syntaxen för Javalette från exempelfilerna så är det mindre bra när dom inte är konsekventa, exempelvis att utökningsfilerna inte avslutas med return i main, samtidigt som det finns exempel i bad som testar just att main måste avslutas med return...»
- Please address: 1) compiling techniques used when addressing dynamic binding in OO-languages. 2) programming structures for checking that a "return" statement really is present in each control flow path. (With current project test suite, this was not tested.)»

16. Additional comments

- Great course, and unlike some other courses this felt concrete in the way that you created something which could actually be used.»
- Keep up the good work:)»
- The project turned out to be one of the most stimulating programming assignments!»
- A really good course connecting a lot of subjects from other courses. The teachers did an excellent work in helping, from web forum to personal open meeting hours.»

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