Functional Programming

Torsten GrustBenjamin Dietrich

Lecture: Thu, 10:15-11:45, C215, Sand 14

Tutorial: Tue, 14:15-15:45, C215, Sand 14

Exam: UPDATE Fr. 28. July 2017, 10:00-12:00 —Großer Hörsaal in der Biochemie (zwischen CRONA und BG)

Numbers are values. Strings are values. Booleans are values. In “functional programming”, functions are “simply” values as well. This view on programming leads to an elegant and expressive programming paradigm which we will investigate in this course. During the course, we will use the programming language Haskell. The majority of the concepts we will consider applies in other (functional) languages as well.

Participants are not expected to be fluent in Haskell from the beginning. We will spend the first three weeks of the semester on a Haskell Ramp-Up. Things will progress rather fast, though. The majority of the semester will be used for the good stuff: intermediate and advanced topics, of which there are plenty.


This course will provide an introduction to Haskell (first half) and then touch on intermediate-level topics. We will discuss (topics in parentheses will be addressed if we’ll find the time):

  • Values and types
  • Function definitions (guards, pattern matching)
  • List processing
  • Algebraic data types
  • Type classes
  • Domain-specific languages (DSLs; shallow and deep embedding)
  • Laziness
  • Functors. Applicative Functors, Monads
  • (Monadic parsing)
  • (Applications: breadth-first search, path finding)


Discussion around this course and Haskell in general are encouraged in the forum. Please stop by regularly, have a look, and say “hi”.

Tutorial and Exercises

  • Regular weekly tutorials will only start on Tuesday, April 25.

  • We will provide weekly exercise sheets.

  • You are admitted to the final exam if you score at least ⅔ of the overall exercise points.

  • Scoring well in the exercises leads to substantial bonus points in the final exam.

Haskell (GHC, Haskell Platform)

The course will use the de-facto standard Haskell compiler GHC and its interactive variant (also known as read-eval-print loop or REPL) GHCi. We strongly suggest you download and install the so-called Haskell Platform which includes both GHC and GHCi (and more). Available for virtually all operating systems, including Windows, Linux, OS X. Make sure to install the recent version 8.0.2.


The following introductory books and courses on Haskell are recommend reading — some of these are available online:

We will refer to additional material for the individual topics during the semester.