Lesson 9: Programming

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Programming is a big topic.

Bill Nye the Science Guy, 'Huge!'

Note: Pseudo-code

function f(x):
    # This line is a comment, not run by the computer.
    # Comments are only for human eyes.
    if x is less than than 5
        print "x is less than 5"
    else if x is less than than 10
        print "x is greater than five and less than 10"
        print "x is greater than 10"

Variables & Constants

>>> x = "value"
>>> print(x)
>>> x = "different value"
>>> print(x)
different value

Data Types

Data types dictate how a piece of data should be handled within a program.
Static Types are known at compile time and defined by the programmer.
Dynamic Types may change based on how the program runs.
Strongly Types are enforced and cannot change.
Weakly Types are fluid and can be 'bent' based on needs.

Data Types

Common types:
Int 1, 5, 10000
Float 1.5, 3.14159
Char 'a', 'f', 'g'
String "foo", "BAR"
Array [1, 2, 3], ['a', 'b', 'c']

Flow Control

Flow Control allows you to execute code only if certain conditions are met.
Conditionals: If / Else If / Else

Conditionals are used to tell the program when to execute commands.

In pseudocode, they usually look something like

if some conditional statement is true
    do something
else if some other conditional
    do something else
    do a final thing

Flow Control

Loops: For / While / Do While

Loops are used to do multiple things, usually an indefinite number of things.

For instance:

for every element, let's call it "foo", in a list "my_list"
    if foo is greater than five
        print(foo + " is too small")

While loops execute indefinitely (while something continues to be true).

For loops iterate over a list (array) of elements or to a specific number.

Input & Output

>>> user_input = get_input("Where would you like to go today? ")
>>> -> Where would you like to go today? Nebraska
>>> print(user_input)
>>> -> nebraska
>>> print(reverse(user_input))
>>> -> aksarben


function read_file(x):
    # Also check that it exists! How convenient!
    if file_exists(x)
        v = read_file_to_string(x)
        return v
        print("file does not exist")
        return Null


struct dog {
    breed: String
    height: Float
    color: String
    age: Integer
spot = struct dog      # Create a new variable of type `struct dog`
spot.breed = "corgie"  # Assign each member a variable.
spot.height = 1.5
spot.color = "Blond"
spot.age = 1
print(spot.breed, spot.height, spot.color, spot.age)


class chair():
    function init(material):
        self.material = material

    function rock():
        print("The ", self.material, " chair rocks slowly.")
>>> my_chair = chair.init("plastic")
>>> my_chair.rock()
>>> -> The plastic chair rocks slowly.


import math_lib

print(math_lib.pi, math_lib.pow(2, 5), math_lib.tan(79.3))
# prints out "3.14 32 .951"

TODO: Write Pseudo-Code

Write pseudo-code to do the following tasks:
  • Count to 20 (hint: for loop).
  • Get user input and print it.
  • Generate prime numbers.
  • Break the problem down to the simplest steps.
  • Don't worry about the details.
  • This is pseudo-code! Get creative.


$ sudo <apt or yum> install python
python programming language logo

Python Datatypes


Python Datatypes

Type Example
boolean True
integer 7
long 18,446,744,073,709,551,615
float 12.4
string "Hello World!"
list ['first', 'second']
dict (map) {'key1': 'value', 'key2', 'value2'}
tuple ('value','paired value')
object anObjects.variable == <value>

Python Variables

# This is a comment
boolean = True # boolean
name = "Lucy" # string
age = 20 # integer
pi = 3.14159 # float
alphabet = ['a', 'b', 'c']
dictionary = {"pi":3.14159, "sqrt 1":1}
winter = ('December', 'January', 'February', 'March')

print(name + " is " + str(age+1) + " this " winter[3])

REPL: Try it out

Open a REPL (Read Evaluate Print Loop):

$ python
>>> print("I'm in a REPL!")
>>> name =      # <Your name>
>>> age =       # <Your age>
>>> print(name + " is " + str(age))
>>> # We need to convert age from int to string so it can print!

Python Control Flow

if name == "Lucy":
    for month in winter:
        print name + " doesn't like " + month
    print "My name isn't Lucy!"

Python Functions

def myfunction(arg1, arg2):
    return arg1 + arg2

print myfunction(1, 5)

Python Libraries

There are a few ways to use other code in your code:

from math import pi
x = pi
from math import *
x = pi

Python Libraries

There are hundreds of Python libraries. If you're trying to do something and think "This has probably been solved...", Google it!

Some libraries to know:

Python (Virtual) Environments

$ sudo apt-get install python-virtualenv
$ sudo yum install

# In each project you work on, you'll want to run
$ virtualenv venv
$ source venv/bin/activate
(venv)$ pip install <package>
(venv)$ deactivate

TODO: Practicing Python

Formalize the last TODO by writing them in Python.

Prove the program works by running the code!

Further Reading

Python on Learnpython.org
The Python programming language's website offers some good (free) tutorials and reference documentation.
Python on Codecademy
Codecademy is a great resource for learning many programming languages and offers a good (free) beginner's guide to Python.
CS 160, 161, 162
These OSU courses focus on programming fundamentals covered in this lesson in greater detail. Python is used in CS 160 and C/C++ is used in CS 161 and CS 162.