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Stanford University

Design of Computer Programs

Stanford University via Udacity


Understanding how to approach programming problems and devise a solution is an essential skill for any Python developer. In this course, you’ll learn new concepts, patterns, and methods that will expand your coding abilities from programming expert, Peter Norvig.

Why Take This Course?

Move along the path towards becoming an expert programmer! In this class you will practice going from a problem description to a solution, using a series of assignments. During office hours segments, Peter will also share his own personal tips and tricks for approaching programming problems - and his techniques may surprise you!


Lesson 1: Winning Poker Hands

Steps of the design process; Developing for clarity and generality;
Arguments for program correctness; Experimentation and simulation.;
Design tradeoffs; Simplicity and Clarity. Decomposition and composability.

Lesson 2: Back of the Envelope

Back of envelope calculations; When to use brute force and when to be
clever; The Zebra puzzle; Generator expressions; Permutations and
combinations. Cryptarithmetic; Recursive and wishful thinking; Longest palindrome
substring algorithm.

Lesson 3: Regular Expressions, other languages and interpreters

Defining the language of regular expressions; Interpreting the language;
Defining the set of strings matched by a regular expression;

Other languages.

Lesson 4: Dealing with complexity through search

Search: finding your way with a flashlight or boat; pouring water.
Analyzing the efficiency of an algorithm; Recurrence relations; Matching
data types with algorithms.

Lesson 5: Dealing with uncertainty through probability

Probability: the game of Pig; Maximizing expected utility to optimize strategy.

Lesson 6: Word Games

Managing complexity; Large sets of words; Appropriate data structures; Word games.

Lesson 7: Conclusion

Interviews and Practice Exam

Taught by

Peter Norvig


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4.1 rating, based on 14 reviews

Start your review of Design of Computer Programs

  • Mauro Lacy completed this course, spending 8 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

    Very entertaining. Both challenging and fun.
    Can be useful to get the gist of programming and algorithms, learn some advanced Python tricks, and find some nice general solutions to problems and puzzles of varying difficulty.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    All I can say is wow. If you want to watch a master, irrespective of your experience as Python programmer. Peter Norvig is someone you will want to learn with. Each week his lesson explored different concepts in computer science. His lectures had a different them each week and made for a very interesting experience. Be prepared to work hard and learn about the power of Python and some elegant ways to solve some tough problems.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    Too little previous programming experience and familiarity to CS concepts might lead to frustration here.

    There is a quite a large gap between the level of this course and that of the introductory CS101 (Udacity) or Interactive Python (Coursera).
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    It is a fantastic class. Very challenging. Norvig is a virtuoso at problem solving and Python programming. It is not introductory, it is a great help to people who already know programming and some Python. It can move them (us) to a new higher level. Many quizzes and program assignments with good feedback.
  • Anonymous

    Anonymous completed this course.

    This is very helpful for increase skills and knowledge.this is best course and very helpful and any can learn and gain his knowledge. For a good work.
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    Syafi'ul Anam completed this course, spending 3 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be medium.

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