ESC180: Introduction to Computer Programming

Fall 2023

Course description   This course serves as an introduction to computer programming and computer science. We will introduce the Python programming language. We will use Python to solve a variety of problems, and practice problem-solving techniques that are applicable to computational problems. We will discuss good practices in software engineering (designing and building large software systems). We will analyze the efficiency of algorithms, and discuss designing efficient algorithms. Various research areas in computer science (AI, software engineering research, the theory of computation, etc.) will be introduced throughout the term. No previous knowledge of programming or computer science is assumed.

The course syllabus is available here (to be posted).


Project 1: Gamification ( Due Oct. 6 at 10:59p.m.(5%). Public test cases

Project 2. (5%). Due Nov. 17 at 10:59p.m.

Project 3., test.txt Due Dec. 4 at 10:59 p.m. (5%).


(schedule is tentative)

Lab 1: Tracing and Conditionals (assigned Sept. 12, show the TA during the lab).

Lab 2: Functions and Local and Global Variables: Simulating a Pocket Calculator (assigned Sept. 19, show the TA during the lab). Solutions

Lab 3: Project 1 warm-up (state machines) + for-loops. (assigned Sept. 27).

Lab 4: More Project 1 warm-up, more loops (assigned Oct. 3).

Lab 5: Lists (assigned Oct. 11)

Lab 6: Tic-tac-toe (assigned Oct. 18)

Lab 7: Deep/shallow copy and lists of lists, getting started with Project 2 (assigned Nov. 1)

Lab 8: Debugging, time complexity, text processing (assigned Nov. 15)

Lab 9: Gaussian Elimination (assigned Nov. 22), Sample run.

Lab 10: More complexity, recursion



The midterm was held on Oct 27.


The exam will be held in December. Past exams are below.

An inclusive environment

We strive to build and maintain an inclusive environment in class — an environment that allows every student to reach their full potential. Please do not hesitate to contact me and/or your preceptor to let us know if you need special accommodation or with any concerns.

Design credit: CS229, Jan 2019.