6.037 - Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs 
NOTE: This class is not currently being offered. Below you'll find
a snapshot of this page from the end of the IAP 2019 session. Feel free to
use the materials here to self-study.
This fast-paced course covers the material in the classic book
Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs — a class
previously known at MIT as 6.001. It uses Scheme to introduce students
to principles of computation, and to teach thought patterns for computer
science. Students are taught to apply structural, procedural, and
meta-linguistic abstraction to solve computational problems. Five
projects will be assigned and graded.
Prerequisites: some programming experience; high confusion
This class is not meant as an introduction to programming; some
programming experience is assumed.
If you have little to no experience with programming, we suggest
6.178, or other non-credit offerings listed in the
6.037 focuses on higher-level concepts and abstraction in Scheme, an
interesting but esoteric language which is infrequently seen in the wild;
The language is light on practicality, but lends itself well to discussing
computational theory. The class attempts to cram the entire material of a
semester-long MIT course into eight two-hour lectures, with accompanying
individual weekly projects, and as such is rather information-dense.
Your tour guides for this adventure are: Mike Phillips, Benjamin
Barenblat, Leon Shen, Ben Vandiver, and Arthur Migdal. To contact them,
you can email 6.001-zombies at the obvious domain.
- Class meets TR7-9pm throughout IAP 2019, in 32-044
6 units of P/D/F credit are available; only the projects are graded.
There will be five projects assigned. Projects should be saved as plain
text, and emailed to 6.037-psets at the obvious domain.
Project 0: Basic scheme. Due by 7pm on Thursday, January 10th.
Project 1: Higher-order procedures and symbols.
Due by 7pm on Tues, January 15th.
Project 2: Mutable objects and procedures with state.
Due by 7pm on Thurs, January 17th.
Project 3: Meta-circular evaluator.
Due by 10pm on Thurs, January 24th.
BONUS Project 3 addendum (ungraded) -- Debugger
Project 4: OOP evaluator (The Adventure Game).
Due by 10pm on Fri, February 1st.
Slides presented in class will be linked below. For each, we've noted
which SICP chapters and which Spring 2007 6.001 lectures we've drawn the
material from, in case you want to delve deeper, get a second opinion,
read ahead, etc. Please note that the book covers a lot of additional
material, and we are mostly tracking the 6.001 lectures, not the textbook.
Lecture 1: Syntax of Scheme, procedural abstraction, and recursion [Printable] [With slide transitions]
(SICP chapter 1; Spring 2007 lectures 1,
Lecture 2: Data abstractions, higher order procedures, symbols, and
quotation [Printable] [With slide transitions]
(SICP chapter 2; Spring 2007 lectures
Lecture 3: Mutation, and the environment model [Printable] [With slide transitions]
(SICP chapters 3.1 - 3.3; Spring 2007 lectures
Lecture 4: Interpretation and evaluation [Printable] [With slide transitions]
(SICP chapters 4.1)
Lecture 5: Debugging [Printable] [With slide transitions]
Lecture 6: Language design and implementation [Printable] [LibreOffice slides]
Lecture 7: Continuations, lazy evaluation, and streams [Continuations printable] [Continuations with slide transitions] [Lazy evaluation/streams printable] [Lazy evaluation/streams slides] (SICP chapter
Lecture 8: Concurrency, Garbage Collection, 6.001 in perspective, and
the Lambda Calculus
Racket (previously DrScheme),
the scheme evaluator we will be using
Also available on Athena machines: add drracket; drracket
For language selection, select "The Racket Language" (a.k.a.
"Determine language from source"). Hit the Show Details button, and
set the Output Style to "write." Use the Language menu to make these
Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs, the textbook written for 6.001. A
PDF version (courtesy of
github.com/sarabander/sicp-pdf) is also available.
The Revised5 Report on the Algorithmic Language Scheme:
You can e-mail the course staff at: 6.001-zombies at the obvious domain.
Students are also welcome to join the staff on Zephyr, MIT's messaging
system. Subscribe to the class named "6.037". If you're new to Zephyr,
we recommend the excellent
Since this course is a heavily condensed version of 6.001, we owe thanks
to all who have ever taught or otherwise supported 6.001 over its long
run. While these people are too numerous to list here, there are
definitely some names we would be remiss to omit:
Eric Grimson, who taught 6.001 a total of 27 times, and from whose
lecture slides and projects we have borrowed heavily.
Gerry Sussman and Hal Abelson, the original architects of the course and
authors of the SICP text.
Anne Hunter, Course 6's fairy godmother, for taking an interest and
helping make sure 6.037 happened.