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How to Program: Computer Science Concepts and Python Exercises

Learn one of the world's most accessible computer languages, Python 3, from a professor at a top ranked university.
How to Program: Computer Science Concepts and Python Exercises is rated 4.0 out of 5 by 179.
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Rated 5 out of 5 by from How to program computer science concepts Grandpa, It is great! There are tons of great different lessons, some that I am familiar with too. The professor seems very educated and the information and lessons are great! Thank you, Aja
Date published: 2022-01-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Exceptional teacher! Mr. John Riley does honor to the trade. He is an exceptional teacher!!
Date published: 2021-12-30
Rated 3 out of 5 by from help! I am a bit more than halfway through the course and so far found it very interesting and was able to run the programs as presented and play with changes as suggesed by the Professor, it certainly makes you want to learn more. However what we miss is an exact working transcript of the programs developped from lesson 13 as while I managed to copy the code from the pdf guide transcript and screen, it does not always work as demonstrated in the course animations....there must be typos , errors or missing code. This may discourage people to go further in the course. So I plead for help and a possibility to access the full code presented in the course. It's also important to support the reputation of The Great courses.
Date published: 2021-12-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good (not great) overview of programming & Python I had already started programming in Python prior to purchasing this course. And prior to that...I am a retired software engineer. So I purchased this course more out of curiosity than anything else. I wanted to see how "software programming" concepts are NOW taught vs. how they were taught many years ago. For those of you serious about Python, this course is a good start but a bit too basic. The proper installation and use of Pycharm may be confusing for the novice user. (Especially on a Windows machine...) I wrote my first 1000 (or so) lines of Python code using nothing but IDLE, before I discovered PyCharm. Many of the Linux based IDE's are much easier to install and navigate around. Maybe Great Courses could develop a video course on the "Linux" OS. (as an alternative to Windows and Max-Os) Python 3.6-3.10 is now "built into" just about every popular version of Linux. When the prof. talked about stacks & queues he never mentioned Pythons bult-in Queue classes (two of them no less !). They are required for most "real world" multiprocessing & threading apps. He also never mentioned the "Print (....., file=xx)" statement which is easier to use than "write". There should probably be a sepearte course dedicated to Object Oriented design and programming in Python since this is really an "in depth" subject with many layers. But the "intro" is OK. Same goes for Gui (Event driven) programming. TkInter is a great Gui framework for Python but most of the detailed documentation is online and scattered about the web. Learning and programming in Python could easily be made into a multi-course series. I would be happy to contribute to it.
Date published: 2021-11-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Straight forward and to the point I am extremely pleased with the guidebook and the DVD.
Date published: 2021-10-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from great course This course has great content and very good delivery. I particularly like how it builds over an initial simple idea to reach more complex concepts. Also kudos for the examples and exercise that are all exrtremely well chosen
Date published: 2021-08-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Just what I needed. Even though the course was technical the information was given in a easy to understand manner.
Date published: 2021-08-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very Good actually I just started lesson one and got hooked. Strongly recomment
Date published: 2021-08-22
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Programming is an eminently learnable skill that gives you unrivalled problem-solving power you can apply in all areas of life. It's also a fun, creative activity that provides insight into how we control the devices that influence virtually every aspect of our lives. The 24 engaging and information-rich lessons of How to Program teach you one of the world's most accessible and powerful computer languages, Python.


John Keyser
John Keyser

Just as language helps us organize and describe ideas for people, programming languages help us organize and describe ideas for the computer.


Texas A&M University

Dr. John Keyser is a Professor and the Associate Department Head for Academics in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Texas A&M University, where he has taught since earning his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of North Carolina. As an undergraduate, he earned three bachelor's degrees-in Computer Science, Engineering Physics, and Applied Math-from Abilene Christian University.

Dr. Keyser's interest in computing, physics, and math steered him into a career in computer graphics, allowing him to combine all three disciplines. He has published widely on geometric modeling, physically based simulation for graphics, and a variety of other graphics topics.

Dr. Keyser's teaching ranges from introductory undergraduate courses in computing and programming to graduate courses in modeling and simulation. Among these, he created a new Programming Studio course that has become required for all Computer Science and Computer Engineering majors at Texas A&M. He has been honored three times with Texas A&M's Distinguished Achievement Award in Teaching-once at the university level and twice from the Dwight Look College of Engineering. As an Assistant Professor, he was named a Montague Scholar by the Center for Teaching Excellence. He also won the Tenneco Meritorious Teaching Award and the Theta Tau Most Informative Lecturer Award.

By This Professor

How to Program: Computer Science Concepts and Python Exercises
Introduction to C++: Programming Concepts and Applications
How to Program: Computer Science Concepts and Python Exercises


What Is Programming? Why Python?

01: What Is Programming? Why Python?

"Hello, World!" Following tradition, write a program that produces this greeting as your first exercise in coding a computer program. Learn why Python is the ideal computer language for beginners and many others. After this lesson, follow the onscreen instructions for installing Python and the programming editor PyCharm....

39 min
Variables: Operations and Input/Output

02: Variables: Operations and Input/Output

Study some of the basic operations of computers. First, investigate the memory hierarchy and what the CPU does. Then consider variables, which are like boxes where units of data are stored in a program. Look at simple arithmetic operations with variables, and try input/output commands....

37 min
Conditionals and Boolean Expressions

03: Conditionals and Boolean Expressions

Any time a computer takes different paths depending on your response, there is usually a conditional statement involved. Delve into these widely used tools, looking at branching points, comparisons, if/then statements, nesting conditionals, and Boolean (true/false) expressions....

30 min
Basic Program Development and Testing

04: Basic Program Development and Testing

Take the plunge and write a program that's useful for saving money! In the process, learn the importance of planning ahead, testing often, and building your code incrementally. As your program takes shape, Professor Keyser describes instructive incidents from computer history and his own experience....

29 min
Loops and Iterations

05: Loops and Iterations

One of the biggest thrills from writing code comes from getting a computer to perform a sequence of instructions repeatedly until a task is complete. Discover the ease of writing such loop programs and also the peril of getting stuck in infinite loops. Investigate while loops, for loops, and iterations....

28 min
Files and Strings

06: Files and Strings

Learn the fundamentals of files: what they are, how they're named, and how to interact with them. Typically, the file format that you write to and read from will be one long string-a sequence of alphanumeric characters. See how these differ from binary files such as images, which are composed of 1s and 0s....

30 min
Operations with Lists

07: Operations with Lists

Python makes it very easy to create lists and perform a wide range of operations on them. Learn the fundamentals of building lists. Then experiment with indexing into lists, looping over lists, and making slices of lists, lists of lists, and list-like structures called tuples....

30 min
Top-Down Design of a Data Analysis Program

08: Top-Down Design of a Data Analysis Program

Take what you have learned about lists, loops, files, and other techniques and design a program that lets you analyze weather data. Sound daunting? Discover the trick of top-down design, which breaks a complex task into manageable parts and is applicable not just to coding but to any major project....

28 min
Functions and Abstraction

09: Functions and Abstraction

One of the key ideas in computer science is abstraction-using simple interfaces to manage complex procedures. See how functions can simplify away the details of complex process, freeing attention to focus on what goes into a function and what comes out. Learn when to use functions and the side effects that sometimes occur....

32 min
Parameter Passing, Scope, and Mutable Data

10: Parameter Passing, Scope, and Mutable Data

Complete your introduction to elementary programming by looking at parameters-the major technique for passing information through functions. Learn when a parameter or variable is "in scope," how to work with list data that can change when passed as a parameter, and what it means for parameters to have default values....

33 min
Error Types, Systematic Debugging, Exceptions

11: Error Types, Systematic Debugging, Exceptions

Confront the nemesis of all computer programmers: bugs. First, look into the history of this peculiar term. Then take a systematic approach to solving mysterious glitches in your own programs. Get acquainted with the debugger in PyCharm, and explore strategies for tracking down bugs and fixing them....

32 min
Python Standard Library, Modules, Packages

12: Python Standard Library, Modules, Packages

Discover the remarkable programming tools called modules that you have at your fingertips with Python. Modules are ready-made programs that can be imported into your code as you write it, enhancing your creativity, expanding your options, and saving you time. Bundles of modules are called packages....

32 min
Game Design with Functions

13: Game Design with Functions

Use the knowledge you've gained so far to design a grid-based matching game-an entertaining way to practice top-down development of more complex programs using functions. You'll see how rough-and-ready lines of code known as stubs come in very handy as you tackle such projects....

31 min
Bottom-Up Design, Turtle Graphics, Robotics

14: Bottom-Up Design, Turtle Graphics, Robotics

Now experiment with bottom-up design, an approach that starts with the available elements and builds from there. Utilize a Python module called turtle graphics to model robot motion, relying on the basic turtle commands: forward, backward, and turn left or right by an angle you specify....

31 min
Event-Driven Programming

15: Event-Driven Programming

Explore the visual style of programming seen on the web and in the graphical user interface of an operating system. Get started with pyglet, a Python package created to help support development of games and other audio-visual environments. Use pyglet to make a graphical version of the game from Lesson 13....

32 min
Visualizing Data and Creating Simulations

16: Visualizing Data and Creating Simulations

Delve into data visualization and simulations-two areas where computers have had a revolutionary but under-recognized impact. Learn how to do both with matplotlib, a Python package for creating plots, graphs, and charts. Use it to design a financial simulation that can help you plan your retirement....

31 min
Classes and Object-Oriented Programming

17: Classes and Object-Oriented Programming

Learn about an exciting approach to programming called object-oriented design, which bundles functions together with data into a series of objects, whose tools and properties can be defined in a single class. Try your hand at this powerful technique by constructing a bank account program....

35 min
Objects with Inheritance and Polymorphism

18: Objects with Inheritance and Polymorphism

Dig deeper into object-oriented design, seeing how encapsulation-combining data and the functions that deal with data into a single package-is the basis for two other object-oriented features: inheritance and polymorphism. Apply these ideas to sports statistics....

33 min
Data Structures: Stack, Queue, Dictionary, Set

19: Data Structures: Stack, Queue, Dictionary, Set

Data structures allow you to perform operations more effectively. Start with two of the most basic data structures, stacks and queues, discovering that both can be executed using lists. Then move to non-linear data structures, exemplified by dictionaries and sets, which can be implemented using a hash table....

31 min
Algorithms: Searching and Sorting

20: Algorithms: Searching and Sorting

Enter the realm of algorithms, the heart of computer science. See how a well-designed algorithm-a general set of steps that accomplish a task-allows you to work out the logic of a program before you commit it to code. Try this with search and sort exercises....

30 min
Recursion and Running Times

21: Recursion and Running Times

Expand your study of algorithms to cover recursion, one of the most fascinating ideas in computer science. Apply recursion to form a pair of sorting algorithms. Then see how another approach, iteration, excels at tasks that take too long with recursion, such as calculating the Fibonacci sequence....

32 min
Graphs and Trees

22: Graphs and Trees

In computing, a graph is a mathematical structure composed of vertices and edges. Discover its incredible power to capture relationships such as the airline routes between cities and the friends in a social network. Try writing programs utilizing graphs and a special type of graph called trees....

32 min
Graph Search and a Word Game

23: Graph Search and a Word Game

Examine a famous graph algorithm called breadth-first search, which shows the shortest path connecting nodes in a tree. Use this technique to write a program creating an entertaining game, in which a word is transformed one letter at a time, with each new iteration required to be a valid word....

30 min
Parallel Computing Is Here

24: Parallel Computing Is Here

One of the major trends in the present and future of computing is parallel processing. Put this clever technique to work in Python. Then close the course with Professor Keyser's suggestions for your further explorations of programming, along with his reflections on the personal benefits of this remarkable human achievement....

35 min