DescriptionFor CS1 courses in Python Programming including majors and non-majors alike.
A problem-solving approach to programming with Python.
The Practice of Computing Using Python introduces CS1 students (majors and non-majors) to computational thinking using Python.¿ With data-manipulation as a theme, students quickly see the value in what they’re learning and leave the course with a set of immediately useful computational skills that can be applied to problems they encounter in future pursuits.¿ The book takes an “object-use-first” approach—writing classes are covered only after students have mastered using objects. ¿¿
Preface is available for download in PDF format.
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A book built from the ground up.
This book is not a translation of a Java or C++ book into Python–it was written from the ground-up as a Python textbook.
A focus on problem-solving with Python.
Three optional chapters in the book (3, 10, and 13) walk students through detailed examples of solving a problem using Python. In addition to design, they show mistakes and how to recover from them by illustrating the process of developing a solution. The authors also refactor some solutions as demonstrations of the importance of program design and readability. These chapters can be used in or outside of class, or in a lab setting.
A data manipulation theme, supported by real-world examples and exercises.
Students use Python to sort, apply, graph, and convert data. The authors have incorporated many real-world, mostly non-numeric examples with a gender-neutral appeal to support this theme: poker hands, Gettysburg Address, EPA mileage data, breast cancer classifier, speech analysis, political debates and S&P 500 analysis.
An “object-use-first” approach.
The authors use objects and methods early while leaving the design and implementation of objects for later in the text--after mastery of the use of objects has been achieved.
A fairly traditional CS1 order, with some differences:
- Strings covered early (before functions) to allow for more data manipulation to be done early.
- File I/O covered early for the same reason.
- Topics like plotting and drawing are included throughout the text in service of the data manipulation theme.
Functions covered earlier; split in two parts.
Only the string chapter separates the function and control chapter. Functions are split into two parts because of how Python handles mutable objects such as lists as parameters–discussion of those issues can only come after there is an understanding of lists as mutable objects.
Reading from files appears early (chapter 4 Strings), even though a more complete discussion on files doesn’t happen until chapter 9.
Students encouraged to use data structures as early as possible. For example, lists and strings show up before they are covered in detail. Dictionaries appear right after lists.
In incorporating drawing and graphing, the authors use established packages instead of developing their own. One is built in (Turtle graphics in Python 2.6 or above, i.e. current versions), the other is widely used (matplotlib with numpy). Both are explained in appendices.
The text is based on Python 2.x (for x >= 6) rather than Python 3.0 since the latter is not backward compatible with standard Python packages at this time. Differences are outlined in an appendix.
Solutions to end-of-chapter Questions and Problems.
A set of slides suitable for use in lecturing.
Table of Contents
I Thinking About Computing
0 The Study of Computer Science
0.1 Why Computer Science?
0.1.1 Importance of Computer Science
0.1.2 Computer “Science”
0.1.3 Computer Science Through Computer Programming
0.2 The Difficulty and Promise of Programming
0.2.1 Difficulty 1: two things at once
0.2.2 Difficulty 2: What is a good program?
0.2.3 The Promise of a Computer Program
0.3 Choosing a Computer Language
0.3.1 Different Computer Languages
0.3.2 Why Python?
0.3.3 Is Python the Best Language?
0.4 What is Computation?
0.5 What is a computer?
0.5.1 Computation in Nature
0.5.2 The Human Computer
0.6 The Modern, Electronic Computer
0.6.1 It’s the Switch!
0.6.2 The Transistor
0.7 A High Level look at a Modern Computer
0.8 Representing Data
0.8.1 Binary Data
0.8.2 Working with Binary
0.8.4 Representing Letters
0.8.5 Representing other Data
0.8.6 What does a number represent?
0.8.7 How to talk about quantities of data
0.8.8 How much data is that?
0.9 Overview of Coming Chapters
II Starting to Program
1.1 Practice, Practice, Practice
1.2 QUICKSTART 1, the Circumference Program
1.2.1 Examining the code
1.3 An Interactive Session
1.4 Parts of a Program
1.4.2 Statements and Expressions
1.4.5 Special Python Elements: Tokens
1.4.6 Naming Objects
1.5.1 Variable Creation and Assignment
1.6 Objects and Types
1.6.2 Other Built-in Types
1.6.3 Object, not variable, types
1.6.4 Constructing new values
1.7.1 Integer Operators
1.7.2 Floating Point Operators
1.7.3 Mixed Operations
1.7.4 Order of Operations and Parenthesis
1.7.5 Augmented Assignment Operators: a shortcut!
1.8 Our first module, math
1.9 Developing an Algorithm
1.11 Visual Vignette: Turtle Graphic
1.12.1 Programming Projects
2.1 The selection statement for decisions: if
2.1.1 Booleans for decisions
2.1.2 The if statement
2.1.3 Example: what lead is safe in basketball?
2.1.5 Example: Finding Perfect Numbers
2.2 In-depth Control
2.2.1 True and False: Booleans
2.2.2 Boolean Variables
2.2.3 Relational Operators
2.2.4 Boolean Operators
2.2.6 Boolean Operators Example
2.2.7 Another Word on Assignments
2.2.8 The Selection statement for decisions
2.2.9 More on Python decision statements
2.2.10 Repetition: the while statement
2.2.11 Sentinel Loop
2.2.12 Summary of repetition
2.2.13 More on the for statement
2.2.15 Hailstone Sequence example
2.3 Visual Vignette: Plotting Data with pylab
2.4 Computer Science Perspectives: Minimal Universal Computing
2.4.1 Minimal Universal Computing
2.5.1 Programming Projects
3 Algorithms and Program Development
3.1 What is an algorithm?
3.1.1 Example Algorithms
3.2 Algorithm Features
3.2.1 Algorithm versus program
3.2.4 Specify Behavior
3.2.5 General Purpose
3.2.6 Can we really do all that?
3.3 What is a program?
3.4 Strategies for program design
3.4.1 Engage and Commit
3.4.2 Understand, then visualize
3.4.3 Think before you Program
3.4.4 Try it: Experiment
3.4.6 Stop and Think
3.4.7 Relax, give it a break
3.5 A simple example
3.5.1 Build the skeleton
3.5.4 Doing the calculation
III Organizing: Data Structures and Functions
4 Working with Strings
4.1 The String type
4.1.1 The triple quote string
4.1.2 Non-printing characters
4.1.3 String representation
4.1.4 Strings as a sequence
4.1.5 More Indexing and Slicing
4.2 String operations
4.2.1 Concatenation (+) and Repetition (*)
4.2.2 When is + addition and when is it concatenation?
4.2.3 Comparison operators
4.2.4 The in operator
4.2.5 String collection is immutable
4.3 A preview of functions and methods
4.3.1 What is a function? First cut
4.3.2 A String Method
4.3.3 Determining method names and method arguments
4.3.4 String Methods
4.3.5 String functions
4.4 Formatted Output for Strings
4.4.1 Descriptor codes
4.4.2 Width Descriptor
4.4.3 Floating-point Precision Descriptor
4.5 Control and Strings
4.6 Working with strings
4.6.1 Example, reordering a person’s name
4.7 Example: Counting Poker Hands
4.7.1 Program to Count Poker Hands
4.9.1 Programming Projects
5.1 What is a function?
5.1.1 Why have functions?
5.2 Python Functions
5.3 Flow of control with Functions
5.3.1 Function Flow in Detail
5.3.2 Another Function Example
5.3.3 Function Example: Word Puzzle
5.3.4 Functions calling Functions
5.3.5 When to use a Function
5.3.6 What if there is no return statement?
5.3.7 What if there are multiple return statements?
5.5 Visual Vignette: Turtle Flag
5.6.1 Programming Projects
6 Lists and Tuples
6.1 What is a list?
6.2 What we already know how to do with lists (mostly)
6.2.1 Indexing and Slicing
6.2.4 List iteration
6.3 New things in Lists
6.3.1 Lists are Mutable
6.3.2 List Methods
6.4 Some old and new friends: range, split and other functions and methods
6.4.1 range, split and multiple assignment
6.4.2 List to string and back again, using join
6.4.3 The sorted function
6.5 Working with some Examples
6.5.2 Example: file analysis
6.6 Mutable Objects and references
6.6.1 Shallow vs. deep copy
6.6.2 Mutable Implementations
6.7.1 Tuples from Lists
6.7.2 Why tuples?
6.8 Lists, the Data Structure
6.8.1 Example data structure
6.8.2 What are some other example data structures?
6.9 Algorithm Example: US EPA automobile mileage data
6.10 Python Diversion: List Comprehension
6.11 Visual Vignette: More Plotting
6.11.1 Numpy arrays
6.11.2 Plotting Trigonometric Functions
6.13.1 Programming Projects
7 More on Functions
7.1 Functions calling Functions
7.2 Scope, a first cut
7.2.1 Arguments, Parameters and Namespaces
7.2.2 Passing Mutable Objects
7.2.3 Returning a complex object.
7.2.4 Refactoring evens()
7.3 Default Values and Parameters as Keywords
7.3.1 Example: Default Values and Parameter Keywords
7.3.2 Issues with Default Values
7.4 Functions as Objects
7.4.1 Doc Strings
7.5 Example: Determining a Final Grade
7.5.1 The Data
7.5.2 The Design
7.5.3 Function: weightedGrade
7.5.4 Function: grade
7.5.5 Function main
7.5.6 Example Use
7.6 Esoterica: "by value" or "by reference"
7.8.1 Programming Projects
8 Dictionaries and Sets
8.1.1 Dictionary example
8.1.2 Python Dictionaries
8.1.3 Dictionary Indexing and Assignment
8.2 Word Count Example
8.2.1 Count words in a string
8.2.2 Word Frequency for Gettysburg Address
8.2.3 Output and comments
8.3 Periodic Table Example
8.3.1 Working with CSV files
8.3.2 Algorithm Overview
8.3.3 Functions for Divide and Conquer
8.4.2 What’s in a set?
8.4.3 Python Sets
8.4.4 Methods, Operators and Functions for Python sets
8.4.5 Set methods
8.5 Set Applications
8.5.1 Relationship betweenWords of Different Documents
8.5.2 Output and Comments
8.6 Scope, the full story
8.6.1 Namespaces and Scope
8.6.2 Search rule for scope
8.7 Python Pointer: Using Zip to Create Dictionaries
8.9 Visual Vignette: Bar Graph of Word Frequency
8.9.1 Getting the data right
8.9.2 Labels and the xticks command
8.10.1 Programming Projects
9.1 What is a file?
9.2 Accessing Files: Reading Text Files
9.2.1 Other File Access Methods
9.2.2 What’s really happening?
9.3 Accessing Files: Writing Text Files
9.4 Reading and Writing Text Files in a Program
9.5 File Creation and Overwriting
9.5.1 Universal New Line Format
9.5.2 Moving around in a file
9.6 Closing a file
9.7 CSV Files
9.7.1 csv module
9.7.2 CSV reader
9.7.4 Example, Update Some Grades
9.8 Example: Reprompting for a “good” file name
9.9 Module: os
9.9.1 Directory/Folder structure
9.9.2 Module os functions
9.9.3 Module os example
9.11.1 Programming Projects
10 More Program Development
10.2 Divide and Conquer
10.2.1 Top-Down Refinement
10.3 The Breast Cancer Classifier
10.3.1 The Problem
10.3.2 The Approach: Classification
10.3.3 Training and testing the classifier
10.3.4 Building the classifier
10.4 Designing the Classifier Algorithm
10.4.1 Divided, now Conquer
10.4.2 Data Structures
10.4.3 File Format
10.4.4 Function: makeTrainingSet
10.5 Continuing the building process
10.5.1 The makeTestSet() function
10.5.2 The trainClassifier() function
10.5.3 trainClassifer(), Round 2
10.5.4 Testing the classifier on new data
10.5.5 The reportResults() function
10.6 Running the Classifier on Full Data
10.6.1 Training versus Testing
10.7 Other interesting problems
10.7.1 Tag Clouds
10.7.2 S&P 500 predictions
10.7.3 Predicting Religion with Flags
10.9.1 Programming Projects
IV Classes: Making Your Own Data Structures & Algorithms
11 Introduction to Classes
11.0.2 Simple Student Class
11.1 Object-oriented programming
11.1.1 Python is Object Oriented!
11.1.2 Characteristics of OOP
11.2 Working with Object Oriented Programming
11.2.1 Class and Instance
11.3 Working with classes and instances
11.3.1 Built-in Class and Instance
11.3.2 Our First Class
11.3.3 Changing Attributes
11.3.4 The special relationship between instance and class: instance-of
11.4 Object Methods
11.4.1 Using object methods
11.4.2 Writing Methods
11.4.3 The special argument self
11.4.4 Methods are the interface to a class instance
11.5 Fitting into the Python class model
11.5.1 Making Programmer-defined Classes
11.5.2 A Student Class
11.5.3 Python-standard methods
11.5.4 Now there are three: Class Designer, Programmer and User
11.6 Example: Point class
11.6.3 Summing two points
11.6.4 Improving the Point Class
11.7 Python and OOP
11.8 An aside: Python and other OOP languages
11.8.1 Public vs. Private
11.8.2 Indicating privacy using double underscores ( __ )
11.8.3 Python’s Philosophy
11.8.4 Modifying an Instance
11.10.1 Programming Projects
12 More on Classes
12.1 More about Class Properties
12.1.1 Rational Number (Fraction) class example
12.2 How does Python know?
12.2.1 Classes, Types and Introspection
12.2.2 Remember Operator Overloading
12.3 Creating Your Own Operator Overloading
12.3.1 Mapping Operators to Special Methods
12.4 Building the Rational Number Class
12.4.1 Making the Class
12.4.2 Review Fraction Addition
12.4.3 Back to Adding Fractions
12.4.4 Equality and Reducing Fractions
12.4.5 Divide-and-Conquer at work
12.5 What doesn’t work (yet)
12.5.2 Repairing int + Rational Errors
12.6.1 The “Find the Attribute” Game
12.6.2 Using Inheritance
12.6.3 An example, the StandardModel
13 Program Development with Classes
13.1 Predator-prey Problem
13.1.1 The rules
13.1.2 Simulation using Object Oriented programming
13.2.1 Island Class
13.2.2 Predator and Prey, kinds of Animals
13.2.3 Predator and Prey Class
13.2.4 Object Diagram
13.2.5 Filling the Island
13.3 Adding Behavior
13.3.1 Refinement: AddMovement
13.3.2 Refinement: Time simulation loop
13.4 Refinement: Eating, Breeding and Keeping Time
13.4.1 Improved Time Loop
13.4.4 The tick of the clock
13.5.1 Refinement: How many times to move?
13.5.2 Refinement: Graphing Population Size
V Becoming a Better Programmer
14 Exceptions and Exception Handling
14.2 Basic Exception Handling
14.2.1 A simple example
14.3 A philosophy concerning exceptions
14.4 Exception: else and finally
14.4.1 Example: Refactoring the reprompting of a file name
14.5 Exception usage
14.5.1 Check input
14.5.2 Check file opening
14.6 More on exceptions
14.6.2 Create your own
14.7 Example: Password Manager
15.1 Why Testing?
15.1.1 Kinds of errors
15.1.2 “Bugs” and debugging
15.2 Kinds of Testing
15.2.1 Testing is hard!
15.2.2 Importance of Testing
15.3 Example Problem
15.3.1 NBA efficiency
15.3.2 Basic Algorithm
15.4 Incorporating Testing
15.4.1 Catching User Errors
15.4.2 Catching Developer Errors
15.5 Automation of Testing
15.5.2 Other kinds of testing
16 Recursion—another control mechanism
16.1 What is recursion?
16.2 Mathematics and Rabbits
16.3 Let’s write our own: reversing a string
16.4 How does recursion actually work?
16.4.1 Stack Data Structure
16.4.2 Stacks and Function Calls
16.5 Recursion in figures
16.5.1 Recursive tree
16.5.2 Sierpinski triangles
16.6 Recursion to Non-recursion
A Getting and Using Python
A.1 About Python
A.1.2 Python is free and portable
A.1.3 Starting Python Up
A.1.4 Working with Python
A.1.5 Making a Program
A.2 Some Conventions for this Book
A.2.1 Interactive Code
A.2.2 Program: Written Code
A.2.3 Combined Program and Output
B Simple Drawing with Turtle Graphics
B.1.1 Keeping the window open
B.1.2 Working nicely with IDLE
C Plotting and Numeric Tools, a Quick Survey
C.1.1 Getting matplotlib
C.2 Working with matplotlib
C.2.1 Plot command
C.2.2 Plot properties
C.2.3 Tick Labels
C.2.4 Bar Graphs
C.2.6 Pie Charts
C.3 Numeric Python (Numpy)
C.3.1 Arrays are not lists
C.3.2 Creating a numpy array
C.3.3 Manipulating arrays
D Python 3.0
D.1 Simpler Built-in Types
D.2 Unsurprising Arithmetic
D.3 Cleaner Comparisons
D.4 Consistent I/O
D.5 Iterator Changes
D.6 String module
D.8 Text Examples in Python 3.x
E Table of ASCII values
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About the Author(s)
Richard Enbody is an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Michigan State University. Since joining the faculty in 1987, he has served as Acting Chair of the Department, Associate Chair, and as Director of the Computer Engineering Undergraduate Program.
Enbody received his B.A. in Mathematics from Carleton College in 1976, and spent six years teaching high school mathematics in Vermont and New Hampshire. He earned his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Minnesota.
Richard's research interests are in computer security, computer architecture, web-based distance education and parallel processing, especially the application of parallel processing to computational science problems. He has two patents pending on hardware buffer-overflow protection which will prevent most computer worms and viruses.
In 1998 Richard pioneered a CS1 course (first course in Computer Science) over the World Wide Web using RealVideo synchronized with PowerPoint. Students from as far away as Russia and Korea enrolled in the course.
When not teaching, Richard plays hockey, squash, canoes, backpacks, as well as a host of family activities.
Bill Punch is an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science at Michigan State University as well as the director of Michigan State's High Performance Computing Center.
Punch is co-director of the Genetic Algorithms Research and Applications Group or GARAGe. His main interests are genetic algorithms and genetic programming, including theoretical issues (parallel GA/GP) and application issues (design, layout, scheduling, etc.). He also has conducted active research in data mining, focusing on the use of ontologies such as WordNet and Wikipedia for text search.
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