Jargon you might hear thrown around during meetings or grading sessions.


How to Design Programs, 2nd ed. is the current edition of the text written by Felleisen, Findler, Flatt, and Krishnamurthi. Sara Sood's version of the course uses this text.

Also referred to as "HtDP" for short.


Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs, the MIT text by Abelson and Sussman. Arguably pioneered the approach to teaching introductory computer science courses in terms of abstraction and design patterns, rather than the semantics of a particular language.


Parentheses (). For whatever reason, programmers tend to use "parens" instead of "parentheses."


Test-driven development. Refers to the practice of writing software by first defining expected behaviors through (initially failing) tests, then writing code to make the tests pass.

Higher-order function

A function that does at least one of the following:

  • Takes another function as input,
  • Returns a function.

Higher-order functions are an important aspect of the functional programming paradigm, because they provide abstractions for function composition and reuse. Examples include map, filter, foldl, and lambda.


A function that returns a Boolean value. Per Racket convention, predicate names tend to end with a question mark (?). Examples include empty?, <, and list?.

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