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Introduction to Functional Programming in OCaml (FUN)

Functional programming is a programming paradigm which is rapidly attracting interest from a broad range of developers because it allows to write expressive, concise and elegant programs. In this course you will discover the power of Functional Programming, using the OCaml language to write concise, efficient and elegant programs.

In this MOOC you will learn Functional programming using the OCaml programming language. You will discover the powerful mechanisms that are offered to build and manipulate complex data structures in a clean and efficient way. And you will see how functions play a central role, as first-class values that can be freely used in any place where an expression can appear.

The OCaml programming language is a member of the ML language family pioneered by Robin Milner. An important feature of OCaml is that it reconciles the conciseness and flexibility of untyped programming languages (like Python, for example) with the safety of strongly typed programming languages (like Java, for example). The OCaml compiler performs in fact a type inference: types of identifiers do not have to be declared but are inferred by the compiler at the moment of definition of an identifier, and then used for assuring type correctness when using an identifier.

We will start by using OCaml as a purely functional programming language. At the end of this MOOC we will see that OCaml is in fact a multi-paradigm language which allows you to combine the functional programming style with the imperative programming paradigm.

Course Schedule

Week 0: Introduction and overview

Week 1: Basic types, definitions and functions

Week 2: Basic data structures

Week 3: More advanced data structures

Week 4: Higher order functions

Week 5: Exceptions, input/output and imperative constructs

Week 6: Modules and data abstraction