CS150 - Fall 2013 - Class 1

  • http://xkcd.com/519/

  • Discuss with your neighbor...
       - What is computer science?
          - computer science is more than programming
          - study of computers
          - solving problems using computers as the tool

       - What are computers good at?
          - Following well defined, unambiguous sets of instructions (algorithms)
          - Computers can do the same thing over and over again exactly the same way

       - What aren't computers good at?
          - Computers can only do what they're told (via the program)

       - How have you seen computers/computer science used in science?

  • Goals of the class
       - introduction to computer science
       - introduction to programming in Python
          - design, code and debug medium-sized programs in Python by the end
       - CS as a tool for the sciences
          - data processing and analysis
          - applications in math, engineering and the sciences
          - examine a few other programming languages commonly used in scientific programming (Matlab and R)

  • Administrative
       - Administrative material
          - http://www.cs.middlebury.edu/~dkauchak/classes/cs150/administrivia.html
       - Textbook
          - need to get it (either online or at the bookstore). Make sure to get the *first* edition!
       - Schedule:
          - Class M/W with a lab on Friday
          - Assignments will generally be due Tue or Wed
       - All handouts, labs, assignments, etc. will be posted on the course web site
       - Late policy
       - Grading
          - keep up with the reading
          - do the daily homework problems
       - Honor_code and collaboration (read the class policy!)
       - computer use during class

  • Style of the course
       - interactive!
          - ask lots of questions
          - participate
          - be expected to do group work in class
       - You'll be expected to be here in class and try particularly hard not to miss Friday class/labs
       - I'll post my notes and examples online. You may still want to write some things down, but you don't have to write every word down

  • Pacing
       - I assume no prior computer science, programming or science background
       - The pacing may be a bit slow for some early, but it will get harder
       - Some example final projects I've done in the past

  • Wing IDE 101
       - We'll be using Wing IDE for this course as our interface into Python
       - What is an IDE?
          - Integrated Development Environment
          - Incorporates a text editor with other tools for running, debugging and navigating through the code
       - When it starts, three parts of the window
          - the main part is the editor
          - the bottom right is the interpreter
          - the bottom left has search, etc. which can be useful

  • Python
       - Python is an interpreted language
          - you can type commands and get an immediate response back
          - many programming languages require you to compile the program first and then run it
       - Python makes a great calculator
          - the ">>>" is the interpreter prompt where you type statements
          - when you hit enter/return, Python executes the statements and gives you the answer
          - Python has all of the standard mathematical operations
             - What operations might you want?
                - +, -, *, /
                - ** (power or exponentiation)
                - % (mod aka remainder)

                >>> 4+4
                >>> 15*20
                >>> 20/4
                >>> 10-20
                >>> 10+4*2
                >>> (10+4)*2
                >>> 2**10
                >>> 2**30
                >>> 2**-2
                >>> 10%4
                >>> 11 % 7

             - What is operator precedence?
             - Python follows the normal operator precedence you're used to for math
                - things in parenthesis get evaluated first
                - ** is next
                - %, * and / next
                - + and - last
             - What should be the answer for 11/2?
                >>> 11/2

             - Why 5?
          - Expressions
             - anything that represents a value (e.g. a number) is called an expression
             - contrast this with a statement, which tells the computer something to do
                - for example, "walk over there" is a statement in English
             - All the things we've seen so far have been expressions
             - In Python (and many programming languages) all expressions have a type
             - 11 is an expression
             - 2 is an expression

          - types
             - the "type" of an expression determines how Python interprets and understands an expression
             - Python is a "strongly typed" language: every expression in Python has a type
             - what are the types of the expressions above?
                - they are both numbers, but Python makes a distinction between integers and floating point numbers (i.e. numbers with decimals)
          - Does this explain why 11/2 gave us 5?
             - Because both 11 and 2 are integers, the result is also an integer
             - Python rounds down (i.e. towards -infinity or to the smaller number) when doing integer division
             - What should be the answer off 11/-2?
          - We can make a number a float by adding a decimal point

             >>> 11.0
             >>> 2.0
             >>> 11.0/2.0
             >>> 11.0/2
             >>> 11/2.0

             - for a given operation, if one of the numbers is a float, then the other is converted to a float and the result will be a float
             - what is the result of
                - (11/2)*4.0?
                   - 20.0
                   - the parenthesis will get evaluated first (11/2) will give us the integer 5
                   - we'll then do floating point multiplication by 4.0, giving us a float of 20.0
                - (11.0/2)*4
                   - 22.0

  • bbq party
       - you're having a party and you're trying to figure out how many hot dogs to buy. Here's what you know:
          - tim isn't a big fan of hot dogs, so he'll only eat 1
          - amy generally eats 2
          - todd always eats twice as many as amy
          - brenda eats one less than todd
          - mark eats half as many as brenda, but likes to take an extra on his way home
       - try and do this on paper
          - 13 (assuming that if someone eats half a hot dog, we still have to count the whole thing)
       - how did you do it?
       - how could you figure this out in Python?
          - might be able to do it, but would require a lot of remembering (or writing things down)

  • variables
       - variables allow us to store things and then use them in other expressions
       - a variable is storage for a value
          - it holds a value
          - we can change its value
       - we change the value of a variable using '=' (also know as assigning to a variable)
          - changing the value of a variable is a statement. It tells the interpreter to do something, but does NOT represent a value

             tim = 1
             amy = 2
             todd = 2 * amy
             brenda = todd - 1
             mark = (brenda+1)/2 + 1
             total_hotdogs = tim + amy + todd + brenda + mark

       - When assigning to a variable, Python evaluates what is on the right hand side of the equals sign and then assigns this value to the variable
       - if I then type amy = 4, what happens to todd?
          - todd stays the same