thinkpython - Think Python How to Think Like a Computer...

Info icon This preview shows pages 1–7. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Think Python How to Think Like a Computer Scientist Version 2.0.17
Image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 2
Think Python How to Think Like a Computer Scientist Version 2.0.17 Allen Downey Green Tea Press Needham, Massachusetts
Image of page 3

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Copyright © 2012 Allen Downey. Green Tea Press 9 Washburn Ave Needham MA 02492 Permission is granted to copy, distribute, and/or modify this document under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License, which is available at . The original form of this book is L A T E X source code. Compiling this L A T E X source has the effect of gen- erating a device-independent representation of a textbook, which can be converted to other formats and printed. The L A T E X source for this book is available from
Image of page 4
Preface The strange history of this book In January 1999 I was preparing to teach an introductory programming class in Java. I had taught it three times and I was getting frustrated. The failure rate in the class was too high and, even for students who succeeded, the overall level of achievement was too low. One of the problems I saw was the books. They were too big, with too much unnecessary detail about Java, and not enough high-level guidance about how to program. And they all suffered from the trap door effect: they would start out easy, proceed gradually, and then somewhere around Chapter 5 the bottom would fall out. The students would get too much new material, too fast, and I would spend the rest of the semester picking up the pieces. Two weeks before the first day of classes, I decided to write my own book. My goals were: • Keep it short. It is better for students to read 10 pages than not read 50 pages. • Be careful with vocabulary. I tried to minimize the jargon and define each term at first use. • Build gradually. To avoid trap doors, I took the most difficult topics and split them into a series of small steps. • Focus on programming, not the programming language. I included the minimum useful subset of Java and left out the rest. I needed a title, so on a whim I chose How to Think Like a Computer Scientist . My first version was rough, but it worked. Students did the reading, and they understood enough that I could spend class time on the hard topics, the interesting topics and (most important) letting the students practice. I released the book under the GNU Free Documentation License, which allows users to copy, modify, and distribute the book. What happened next is the cool part. Jeff Elkner, a high school teacher in Virginia, adopted my book and translated it into Python. He sent me a copy of his translation, and I had the unusual experience of learning Python by reading my own book. As Green Tea Press, I published the first Python version in 2001. In 2003 I started teaching at Olin College and I got to teach Python for the first time. The contrast with Java was striking. Students struggled less, learned more, worked on more interesting projects, and generally had a lot more fun.
Image of page 5

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
vi Chapter 0. Preface Over the last nine years I continued to develop the book, correcting errors, improving some of the examples and adding material, especially exercises.
Image of page 6
Image of page 7
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern