CIS 706/801: Translator Design I & II, Fall 2023


The course will teach modern compiler techniques applied to general-purpose programming language. The goal of the course is to give students a working knowledge of the foundations, tools, and engineering approaches used in developing formal language translators. The emphasis is on the construction of compilers to position students to build translators for little languages in their careers.

Course Topics

Compilers and interpreters, including description of languages, finite state scanners, parsing, symbol tables, syntax directed semantics, code generation, and static analysis.


This course is based on a course that was originally designed by Laurie J. Hendren and Michael I. Schwartzbach which has been taught at a number of universities over the past decade. The course received a significant update by Robby and Matthew B. Dwyer in 2005 with respect to the projects and the tools that are used for compiler implementation; this update achieves a modernization of compiler construction technologies. This is primarily an introductory compiling course that has been designed to recognize that most people will not build a large application like a compiler from scratch and that people learn by doing. Towards this end, the project for the course involves the enhancement of an existing compiler code base. Students will be given a working compiler and will be required to extend it in significant ways. This will give them insights into how a compiler is designed and written that they can leverage for their enhancements. While serving this purpose, the course does present significantly more content on static analysis than is typically found in an introductory compiling course; thus it can serve as an effective introduction on advanced topics for graduate students.




T U, 1:05-2:20pm


2207 Engineering Hall



3 credits



  • CIS 706

    • Projects (50%)

    • Exams (40%)

    • Presentation (10%)

  • CIS 801

    • Projects (40%)

    • Exams (30%)

    • Final Project Presentation (5%)

    • Final Project (25%)

Grading Policy

The course Schedule page gives the due dates for all of the homework. This is to facilitate your planning and time-management. Given this, we expect assignments to be turned in on the due date unless prior arrangements have been made; late assignments receive a reduction of 1% of the total possible points for each hour after the due date/time.

Grading Scale

Course grades are absolute, that is, there is no curve, and will be calculated based on your overall percentage on assignments as follows:

  • A: 90% – 100%

  • B: 80% – 89%

  • C: 70% – 79%

  • D: 60% – 69%

  • F: below 60%

There is one additional constraint on your final grade. To receive a letter grade of A, you must achieve at least a B on one of the exams. Similarly, to receive a B you must achieve a C, C you must achieve a D on one of the exams.

Computer Access

This course involves a lot of programming, and it makes significant use of software tools. Many of these can be accessed by you (for free) and installed on your own machine. If you prefer, we have everything you need on our CIS department machines so you can get an account on our machines. See the Notes page for information on how to get an account and use our machines.

Attendance Policy

In general, there will be NO make-up quizzes or exams! Special consideration will be given in only exceptional circumstances. Exceptional circumstances are generally limited to:

  • Emergencies: death in student’s immediate family, or near-death experience of the student.

  • Non-emergencies: certified excused absences for official university activities.

If you believe you qualify for exceptional treatment, you must notify the instructor prior to the date of the quiz or exam to be missed.

Statement Regarding Academic Honesty

Kansas State University has an Honor and Integrity System based on personal integrity, which is presumed to be sufficient assurance that, in academic matters, one’s work is performed honestly and without unauthorized assistance. Undergraduate and graduate students, by registration, acknowledge the jurisdiction of the Honor and Integrity System. The policies and procedures of the Honor and Integrity System apply to all full and part-time students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate courses on-campus, off-campus, and via distance learning. A component vital to the Honor and Integrity System is the inclusion of the Honor Pledge which applies to all assignments, examinations, or other course work undertaken by students. The Honor Pledge is implied, whether or not it is stated: “On my honor, as a student, I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid on this academic work.” A grade of XF can result from a breach of academic honesty. The F indicates failure in the course; the X indicates the reason is an Honor Pledge violation.

Statement Regarding Students with Disabilities

At K-State it is important that every student has access to course content and the means to demonstrate course mastery. Students with disabilities may benefit from services including accommodations provided by the Student Access Center. Disabilities can include physical, learning, executive functions, and mental health. You may register at the Student Access Center ( or to learn more contact:

Manhattan – Student Access Center 785-532-6441

Students already registered with the Student Access Center please request your Letters of Accommodation early in the semester to provide adequate time to arrange your approved academic accommodations. Once SAC approves your Letter of Accommodation it will be e-mailed to you, and your instructor(s) for this course. Please follow up with your instructor to discuss how best to implement the approved accommodations.

Statement Defining Expectations for Classroom Conduct

All student activities in the University, including this course, are governed by the Student Judicial Conduct Code as outlined in the Student Governing Association By Laws, Article V, Section 3, number 2. Students who engage in behavior that disrupts the learning environment may be asked to leave the class.

Statement on Mutual Respect and Inclusion in K-State Teaching and Learning Spaces

At K-State, faculty and staff are committed to creating and maintaining an inclusive and supportive learning environment for students from diverse backgrounds and perspectives. K-State courses, labs, and other virtual and physical learning spaces promote equitable opportunity to learn, participate, contribute, and succeed, regardless of age, race, color, ethnicity, nationality, genetic information, ancestry, disability, socioeconomic status, military or veteran status, immigration status, Indigenous identity, gender identity, gender expression, sexuality, religion, culture, as well as other social identities.

Faculty and staff are committed to promoting equity and believe the success of an inclusive learning environment relies on the participation, support, and understanding of all students. Students are encouraged to share their views and lived experiences as they relate to the course or their course experience, while recognizing they are doing so in a learning environment in which all are expected to engage with respect to honor the rights, safety, and dignity of others in keeping with the K-State Principles of Community

If you feel uncomfortable because of comments or behavior encountered in this class, you may bring it to the attention of your instructor, advisors, and/or mentors. If you have questions about how to proceed with a confidential process to resolve concerns, please contact the Student Ombudsperson Office. Violations of the student code of conduct can be reported here If you experience bias or discrimination, it can be reported here

Statement Regarding Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Harassment

Kansas State University is committed to maintaining academic, housing, and work environments that are free of discrimination, harassment, and sexual harassment. Instructors support the University’s commitment by creating a safe learning environment during this course, free of conduct that would interfere with your academic opportunities. Instructors also have a duty to report any behavior they become aware of that potentially violates the University’s policy prohibiting discrimination, harassment, and sexual harassment (PPM 3010).

If a student is subjected to discrimination, harassment, or sexual harassment, they are encouraged to make a non-confidential report to the University’s Office for Institutional Equity (OIE) using the online reporting form. Incident disclosure is not required to receive resources at K-State. Reports that include domestic and dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking, should be considered for reporting by the complainant to the Kansas State University Police Department or the Riley County Police Department. Reports made to law enforcement are separate from reports made to OIE. A complainant can choose to report to one or both entities. Confidential support and advocacy can be found with the K-State Center for Advocacy, Response, and Education (CARE). Confidential mental health services can be found with Lafene Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). Academic support can be found with the Office of Student Life (OSL). OSL is a non-confidential resource. A comprehensive list of resources is available here. If you have questions about non-confidential and confidential resources, please contact OIE at or (785) 532-6220.

Statement Regarding Usages of Artificial Intelligence (AI) Resources

You may use Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools to assist your learning in this course, including idea generation and grammar assessments for written assignments. However, you are prohibited from using generative AI tools to completely produce, reproduce, and/or manufacture paper and/or other assignments without using any personal effort devoted to the learning process. If you choose to use AI appropriately, you are expected to provide a citation for it using the following format: “Title of AI Tool. Prompt or brief description of topic of search depending on tool. Date of creation.” Using an AI tool to generate assignment content without proper attribution would be a violation of the K-State Honor Pledge.

Other Administrative Issues

  • Incompletenes: An incomplete (I) final grade will be given only by prior arrangement in exceptional circumstances conforming to departmental policy in which the bulk of course work has been completed in passing fashion.

  • Drop Policy: It is your responsibility to drop the course if you are enrolled but decide not to complete the course — there are no “automatic” drops due to nonattendance. The University allows a retake of a course with removal of the prior grade, at most once per course, for a maximum of five courses.

  • Copyright Issues: Class and lecture notes for this course carry a copyright. Students are prohibited from selling (or being paid for taking) notes during this course to or by any person or commercial firm without the express written permission of the professor teaching this course.