CSC302 2011S Programming Languages

Assignment 3: Io

Assigned: Friday, 4 February 2011
Due: 11:00 p.m., Thursday, 10 February 2011

This assignment is also available in PDF.

Summary: In this assignment, you will further explore some of the key ideas from the reading on Io.

Purposes: To give you more experience with Io and its underlying concepts, particularly

Expected Time: Three to four hours.

Collaboration: I would prefer that you work on this assignment in groups of two or three. You may also work on this assignment alone or in groups of up to size four. You may consult with anyone you wish on this assignment (including other classmates), provided you cite your consultants.

Submitting: Upload a tarball to Pioneerweb. See further details below.

Warning: So that this assignment is a learning experience for everyone, I may spend class time publicly critiquing your work.


1. Tree Nodes

Implement a node class that has slots for the node's data and the node's children. Your class should also support an addChild method.

2. Traversing Trees

Using Io's actors, write a tree printing algorithm using the following basic strategy:

To print a node
  If the node has already been printed, stop
    Print the node
    Mark the node as printed
    Schedule all children to be printed

For fun, add a random delay to the printing strategy.

3. Modeling Expressions

As you no doubt know, we can model expressions as trees.

Implement this model and a simple evaluation procedure for arithmetic expressions in Io.

E.g., I might create the expression x + (3 * 4) with

Expression application(
  Expression variable("x"),
  Expression application("*",
                         Expression constant("3"),
                         Expression constant("4")))


Application new("+",
                Variable new("x"),
                Application new("*",
                                Constant new("3"),
                                Constant new("4")))

4. Simulating Distributed Computing

In one model of distributed computing, the system maintains a list of tasks to compute. Individual computing nodes take turns grabbing tasks from the list, computing with those tasks, and adding subtasks on to the list. A shared data store keeps track of the results of tasks.

For example, if a computing node is called upon to compute the result of (3*4) + (5-6) and store it in slot s0, it might (a) create two new data slots, s1 and s2, (b) create a task to compute 3*4 and store the result in slot s1, (c) create a task to compute 5-6 and store the result in slot s2, and (d) create a task to compute s1 - s2 and store the result in slot s0.

Develop a simulation of this computing model for the expressions you developed in the previous exercise. You'll have two shared objects that represent the list and data store. You'll create a ComputeNode class that grabs tasks and builds new tasks. Then you'll build a simple task and a set of nodes and put them to work.

Important Evaluation Criteria

I will look at the standard C criteria: Is your code correct? Is your code concise? (This second attribute is particularly appropriate in Ruby.) Is your code appropriately commented? Have you used any particularly clever techniques. How comely is your code?

Submitting Your Homework

Create a directory for this assignment of the form hw03.names. Within that directory, create subdirectories for each part of the assignment (e.g., part1, part2). Each subdirectory should contain:

Make a gzipped tarball of the assignment directory. (If you don't know how to do that, let me know.) Upload it via the Assignment 2 link on Pioneerweb.



Friday, 4 February 2011 [Samuel A. Rebelsky]

  • Created

Sunday, 6 February 2011 [Samuel A. Rebelsky]

  • Updated to deal with weirdo crash that happens when you make
  • Added another example for problem 3. circular object references.

Thursday, 10 February 2011 [Samuel A. Rebelsky]


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Samuel A. Rebelsky,