Fall 2018

General Information

Catalog description // Recommended texts // Communication // Grading and attendance policy // Compiler Building and Running // Late policy // Collaboration // Third-party libraries // Class meetings // Staff // Office Hours and Relectures

MIT catalog description

Prereq.: 6.004 and 6.031

Analyzes issues associated with the implementation of higher-level programming languages. Fundamental concepts, functions, and structures of compilers. The interaction of theory and practice. Using tools in building software. Includes a multi-person project on compiler design and implementation.

Recommended texts

6.035 has no officially required textbook. All of the material you need is taught in class, with the exception of the documentation for your implementation language and associated libraries. However, the following books may be helpful in implementing various components of your compiler, and are available from MIT libraries.

  • Modern Compiler Implementation in Java (Tiger Book)
    Andrew W. Appel and Jens Palsberg
    Cambridge University Press, 2002

Many other resources such as technical papers, interesting and useful blog posts, and reference guides are available on the references page.


We will distribute assignments and make all announcements on the course web site. Important announcements will also be made on the course Piazza. Since lecture dates are not all finalized at the start of the semester, please pay attention to the schedule.

Grading and attendance policy

Your grade in 6.035 is based upon four components: your compiler, two quizzes, and the mini-quizzes at the beginning of every lecture. You must therefore attend all lectures, in order to take the mini-quizzes and receive a full grade.

For more information on the way the compiler project is graded, see the projects overview handout from the first recitation (available on the schedule page).

Late policy

We expect you to attend all quizzes and submit the project on time. For extensions under extenuating circumstances (e.g., you are sick for a week), we require a letter from one of the student deans.


Although you may discuss the projects with anybody, you must develop the code yourself. For the scanner/parser project, you must develop your code alone. On all subsequent projects, you should work with your team members, but you may not develop or share any code with other teams.

You may collaborate on the mini-quizzes, but you may not collaborate with anybody on the full quizzes; doing so will result in a failing grade.

Do not post your lab or homework solutions on publicly accessible web sites or file spaces; this enables cheating for students in future years.

Compiler Building and Running

We will use the software provided by the Athena infrastructure to evaluate each group project. The project skeletons contain the scripts that will automatically build and run your projects.

The submitted project should be self-contained. With the exception of the languages and libraries provided by the Athena infrastructure, all code and libraries (when applicable; see the next section) should be contained within the submitted archive.

Make sure to build and run your compiler on the Athena infrastructure before submitting it for evaluation. If we are not able to automatically build or run your compiler using the scripts provided with the project skeletons, it will incur a 25% penalty on the number of points for this project.

Third-party Libraries

In 6.035, you build a compiler almost entirely from scratch. There are a few allowed exceptions: you may use one of the approved parser generators, described in the first project & athena handouts. You may use various language APIs for working with collections and data types. However, there are some restrictions on that. For example, users of Haskell may not use Haskell's Data.Graph or Compiler packages.

Any libraries beyond the Java API or basic Scala libraries must be approved by the TA. We will not allow more advanced libraries, such as the PackratParsers package. In general, if you are unsure of whether or not you are allowed to use a piece of software, ask the TA.

Class meetings

Lectures will be held on Mondays through Fridays from 11:00am to 12:00pm in room 3-370 MWF, and room 4-149 TR. There is not a lecture on every such day; for details, see the schedule.


Martin Rinard  
Teaching assistants
Cristina Mata  
Alex List  

Course mailing list:

If you have questions, you may contact the course staff at 6.035-staff@mit.edu

Office Hours and Relectures

Tuesday relectures are held on Tuesdays from 5-6 pm in room 2-142 and Thursday relectures are held on Thursdays from 5-6 pm in room 2-135. Email the TAs to schedule a relecture for other class days. Office hours are Tuesdays from 6-7 pm in room 2-142 and Thursdays from 6-7 pm in room 2-135. On Tuesdays and Thursdays that lecture doesn't occur, office hours are scheduled during relecture time, i.e., they are held Tuesdays from 5-7 pm in room 2-142 and Thursdays from 5-7 pm in room 2-135.

We will organize additional office hours before each of the quizzes and leading up to the due dates of class projects. We will announce the schedule of these office hours during the class.

Questions or comments regarding 6.035? Send e-mail to the TAs at 6.035-staff@mit.edu.

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