Solving problems with Python

From AstroEd
Revision as of 04:09, 14 February 2013 by WikiSysop (talk | contribs)
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Now with many useful tools in hand, let us see how to make them work together to solve problems.

Flow control

The if statement is fundamental to making decisions within a program. It works simply

if x > 0.:
  y = 1./x
elif x < -1.:
elif x == 0:
  print 'Cannot divide by zero.'
  y = 1./x
z = y

Notice that indentation (by any fixed number of spaces)is used to separate the functions within the statement, and that each branch is defined by a :. The end of a branch occurs when the indentation goes back to the previous level. Each decision is based on a logical boolean value such as (x > 0.), which is True when x is greater than 0. and False otherwise. Within the if processing, a pass is a way to get out of that level without doing anything, and an exit() leaves the entire program.

A while statement tests whether its argument is true, and sets up a loop that continues as long as it is. Program

flag = True
x = 0.
while flag:
  x = x + 1.
  if x > 10.:
    flag = False
print x

increases x until it is 11. and then prints the value.




For examples of Python illustrating flow control, functions, and iteration, see the examples section.


For the assigned homework to use these ideas, see the assignments section.