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Python Programming in Context, 2nd Edition by David L. Ranum, Bradley N. Miller

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“91974˙CH01˙final” — 2012/12/14 13:55 — page1—#1
CHAPTER
1
Introduction
1.1 Objectives
To provide examples of computer science in the real world
To provide an overview of common problem-solving strategies
To introduce Python’s numeric data types
To show examples of simple programs
To introduce loops and simple functions
To introduce turtle graphics
1.2 What Is Computer Science?
Computers are a vital part of our lives. They help to control the planes we fly in and the
cars we drive in. They keep track of the buying and selling of stocks in financial markets
around the world. They control complex surgical machinery and the pacemakers that are
embedded in our bodies. Computers help us to communicate quickly and efficiently with
others throughout the world. If you are reading this book, it is likely that you have used a
personal computer for writing a paper, surfing the Web, or sending an email. You may have
more experience. Perhaps you have hooked up a home network, or even built your own
web page. However, even though computers have become appliances that are part of the
backdrop of our lives, the chances are that you have not explored the world of programming.
The important question that we must answer in this chapter is “what is computer science?”
The problem with answering this question is that the term is misleading right from the
start. A look in a dictionary will tell you that science is the theoretical and experimental
1

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