Introduction to Computation and Programming Using Python: With Application to Understanding Data (2nd edition)

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AuthorsJohn V. Guttag


In today’s data-driven world, understanding the fundamentals of computation and programming is essential for anyone looking to navigate the realms of data analysis, artificial intelligence, and scientific research. Introduction to Computation and Programming Using Python: With Application to Understanding Data (Second Edition) by John V. Guttag is a comprehensive guide that offers a gateway into the fascinating world of computation, programming, and data analysis using the Python programming language.

Chapter 1: The Basics of Computation and Programming

The book starts by laying a solid foundation in the basics of computation and programming. It introduces readers to the concept of algorithms, which are step-by-step procedures for solving problems. Readers learn how to analyze problems and design algorithms to solve them efficiently. The Python programming language is introduced as the tool of choice due to its simplicity and versatility.

Chapter 2: Variables and Simple Operations

In this chapter, readers dive into the world of variables, data types, and simple operations in Python. They learn how to store and manipulate data, perform arithmetic operations, and understand the principles of code execution. Practical examples and exercises help readers grasp these concepts effectively.

Chapter 3: Control Flow

Control flow is a crucial aspect of programming, determining how a program’s instructions are executed. This chapter delves into conditional statements, loops, and branching, demonstrating how to control the flow of a program’s execution. Readers gain the ability to write programs that make decisions and repeat tasks, which are essential skills for creating more complex applications.

Chapter 4: Functions and Scope

Functions are the building blocks of modular and reusable code. This chapter explains how to define, call, and use functions in Python. It also covers the concept of scope, ensuring that readers understand variable visibility and lifetime within functions. The importance of code modularity and reusability is highlighted.

Chapter 5: Structured Types

Structured data types, such as lists, tuples, and dictionaries, play a vital role in handling and organizing data. This chapter explores how to create, manipulate, and iterate through these data structures. Additionally, readers learn about mutability, immutability, and the trade-offs between various data types.

Chapter 6: Debugging and Exceptions

No programming journey is complete without tackling debugging and handling exceptions. This chapter equips readers with debugging techniques and strategies to identify and fix errors in their code. It also introduces exception handling, enabling programmers to gracefully manage unexpected situations that may arise during program execution.

Chapter 7: Objects and Classes

Object-oriented programming (OOP) is a fundamental paradigm in modern programming. This chapter introduces the concepts of objects, classes, and methods, guiding readers through the process of creating their own classes and leveraging OOP principles to create more sophisticated programs.

Chapter 8: Computing with Approximations

Real-world problems often require approximations and numerical solutions. This chapter explores how to use iterative methods and numerical techniques to solve mathematical problems. Readers learn to balance precision and efficiency in their computations.

Chapter 9: Reading and Writing Files

In the age of data, the ability to read and write files is essential. This chapter covers file input/output operations, enabling readers to interact with external data sources and store their program’s results. Practical examples demonstrate how to handle different file formats.

Chapter 10: Testing and Optimization

Writing reliable and efficient code is a crucial skill for programmers. This chapter delves into testing strategies, helping readers ensure their programs work as intended. Additionally, optimization techniques are introduced, allowing programmers to enhance the speed and efficiency of their code.

Chapter 11: NumPy

NumPy is a powerful library for numerical computing in Python. This chapter introduces readers to NumPy’s array data structure and explores its capabilities for performing mathematical operations on large datasets. Readers learn how to leverage NumPy to handle complex data manipulations efficiently.

Chapter 12: Matplotlib and Plotting

Data visualization is a key component of data analysis. This chapter introduces the Matplotlib library, which allows users to create various types of plots and visualizations. Readers gain the skills to effectively communicate their findings through compelling visuals.

Chapter 13: Simulating Complexity

Simulations are valuable tools for studying complex systems and phenomena. This chapter demonstrates how to create simulations using Python, enabling readers to model and analyze intricate scenarios in fields like physics, economics, and biology.

Chapter 14: Data Science and Machine Learning

The final chapter bridges the gap between programming and data science. It provides an overview of data science principles and introduces the basics of machine learning using Python. Readers are introduced to essential concepts like data preprocessing, model training, and evaluation.


Introduction to Computation and Programming Using Python: With Application to Understanding Data (Second Edition) is a comprehensive and approachable guide that equips readers with the essential skills to engage in computation, programming, and data analysis using the Python language. Through a well-structured progression of topics, practical examples, and hands-on exercises, readers gain a solid foundation in programming and are prepared to tackle real-world challenges in a data-driven landscape. Whether you are a beginner looking to explore the world of programming or an experienced programmer seeking to enhance your data analysis skills, this book serves as an invaluable resource on your journey.

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