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Programming Fundamentals

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Programming FundamentalsSlide 2GoalsSlide 4Slide 5Slide 6What is a computation?Language ModelSlide 9Getting StartedTerminologySyntaxTranscriptTranscriptSlide 15Slide 16Slide 17Slide 18Everything's an ObjectFunction CallsGetting HelpHelp PageWork environmentProgramming FundamentalsProgramming concepts and understanding of the essentials of programming languages form the basis of computing.GoalsTo outline what aspects of a language (specifically R) you might want to teach your studentsDiscuss how to teach this effectively concepts, examples, motivation, contextDiscuss aspects of the language that not all users are familiar withand to show the logic/simplicity of the languageThree aspects to statistical programminginteractive use for exploratory data analysisprogramming numerically intensive taskswriting functions/software for reuseObviously related, and there is a natural progression.Some students won’t have seen a “programming language” beforeSome may have seen HTML - a declarative language that has no control flow.Many will be unfamiliar with the command-lineREPL - Read-Eval-Print-LoopExplain the difference between a spreadsheet and a programming environment.For some students, we have to get them past the “why isn’t this like X? It’s so lame!”So need to show them how it is useful, and how the language constructs help them to do things.So we have to get them to want to do something which involves, e.g. a lot of repetition. e.g. give them a corpus of e-mail messages, 1 per file, or person per file and ask how many messages do we have?Get them to consider the language as a servant.What is a computation?•Transformation from on or more inputs to an output•Transition from old state to new state•Algorithm set of directions for carrying out a computation in terms of other simpler computations•Examples•Find the average annual rainfall at a weather station•Crop a digital photo•Sort the mail by sender in your mail programLanguage ModelCritical to teach the concepts, structure, logic and design of the languageStudents will often gravitate to “how to” and mimicking rather than abstracting the specific to gain this “higher understanding” of the language.Syntax versus Semantics and computational model.Getting past details allows them to reason about problemsapply their knowledge of one language to another.Most of the languages we will use are interpretedhigh-levelgarbage collected“interactive”& have large librariesR, MATLAB, ... - triple oflanguageinterpreterenvironment (packages)Getting Started•Get students familiar with the basics of the environment. Do this with an interactive demo. Place online after class a transcript of session (with comments).•How to start (command line or GUI) and quit q()•How to use R as a calculator•Show them the continuation prompt > 2 * + 3Terminology•Invoke a computation with an expression•Pass the expression off to the computer to evaluate•Return a value or output of the expressionSyntax•Do arithmetic - 1 + pi•Order of operations – log(100) + sin(pi/2) * 15 (log(100) + sin(pi/2)) * 15•Simple plots - curve(sin, -pi, pi)•Assign results to variables x = 1 + pi print(x) x result of evaluating a non-assignment => printTranscript> 1 + pi[1] 4.141593 > log(100) + sin(pi/2) * 15 #multiplication first, log base e[1] 19.60517> (log(100) + sin(pi/2)) * 15 #parentheses modify order[1] 84.07755> (log(100, base = 10) + sin(pi/2)) * 15 #change parameter called base[1] 45Transcript> curve(sin, -pi, pi) #curve function called, 3 arguments> x = 1 + pi> print(x)[1] 4.141593> x[1] 4.141593> x = rnorm(100)> mean(x) [1] 0.02533064•Parsing: break down expression – •white space, •digits 2x vs 2*x, •naming conventions•No declarations of variables neededor type information•Explore assignments•stored in session area - global environment•see names of existing variables - objects()•where does curve() come from?•find(“curve”)•search() and the concept of the search path•how does R use this > pi= 3> find("pi")[1] ".GlobalEnv" "package:base"•Remove one or more objects – rm(x, pi)•Save variables for future use – save(x, z, file =“myvars.rda”)•Restore – load(“myfile.rda”) (Where are these?)•Keep track of code – history()•What about ‘+’ in 1 + 2? Does R just know about that?•find(“+”) “package:base”•1 + 2 is actually a function call `+`(1, 2)•In fact, everything in R is a function call simple, single concept that makes lots of things easy to reason about, and several computational tasks feasible. (infix vs function style)•Notion of function call is similar to other languagese.g. shell - find . -name '*.R'Everything's an Object•If we can see 'x', can we see '+'?•Print the value of + - poor choice! `+` sin•We can pass a function as an argument to a function curve(sin)•So functions are first class values.•In fact, every value is a first class object.Function Calls•What's a function?•for now, a black box that takes zero or more inputs, and returns a value, an object.•leads to 2 issues:•how do we specify the inputs parameter matching•what sort of values can we pass in and get out? data structuresGetting Help•How to get help (help.start)•It is useful to show them the elements of a help page and how to read them, interpret some of the "ambiguous" content, explain some of the terms follow the See Also connect to the manuals which give some more detailsHelp Pagehelp(mean)Description - what the function doesUsage – definition/how to call the functionArguments - purpose of each argumentValue – return value from functionReferences - See Also – related functionsExamples -Work environment•Where do you write your code? Not in a Word document•Text editors – the GUI’s editor, eMacs & ESS •How do you find your data, code?•File system – trees•Simple shell commands – cd, ls, pwd, cp, mv, rm, mkdir, rmdir •Can you use a faster computer? – ssh,


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