# STUDENT LESSON A12 Iterations

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1 STUDENT LESSON A12 Iterations

2 Java Curriculum for AP Computer Science, Student Lesson A12 1 STUDENT LESSON A12 Iterations INTRODUCTION: Solving problems on a computer very often requires a repetition of a block of code. Reading in data from a file, outputting to a file or adding numbers are situations where repetition is required. In Lesson A9, Recursion, we have already explored repeating code. However, not all iterative problems lend themselves to recursive solutions. Java provides three alternative constructs for repeating code with the for loop, the while loop, and the do-while loop. The while and for control structures allow us to set up a conditional loop, one that occurs for an indefinite period of time until some condition becomes false. We will also study the optional do-while loop and the concept of nested loops. The key topics for this lesson are: A. The while Loop B. Loop Boundaries C. Conditional Loop Strategies D. The for Loop E. Nested Loops F. The do-while Loop (optional) G. Choosing a Loop Control Structure H. Loop Invariants VOCABULARY: break BOUNDARY do-while ENTRY CHECK EXIT CHECK for LOOP INVARIANT NESTED LOOP SENTINEL STATE while DISCUSSION: A. The while Loop 1. The general form of a while statement is: while (expression){ statement; a. As in the if-else control structure, the boolean expression must be enclosed in parentheses ().

3 Java Curriculum for AP Computer Science, Student Lesson A12 2 b. The statement executed by the while loop can be a simple statement, or a compound statement blocked with braces {. 2. If the expression is true, the statement is executed. After execution of the statement, program control returns to the top of the while construct. The statement will continue to be executed until the expression evaluates to false. 3. The following diagram illustrates the flow of control in a while loop: 4. The following loop will print out the integers from int number = 1; while (number <= 10){ System.out.println(number); number++; // initialize // loop boundary condition // increment/decrement 5. The above example has three key lines that need emphasis. a. You must initialize the loop control variable. If you do not initialize number, Java produces an error message warning you that the variable may not have been initialized. b. The loop boundary conditional test (number <= 10) is often a source of error. Make sure that you have the correct comparison (<, >, ==, <=, >=,!=) and that the boundary value is correct. Programmers have to ensure that the loop is executed exactly the correct number of times. Performing the loop one too many or one too few times is called an OBOB, Off By One Bug. c. There must be some type of increment/decrement or other statement so that execution of the loop eventually terminates, otherwise the program will get stuck in an infinite loop and never end! 6. It is possible for the body of a while loop to execute zero times. The while loop is an entry check loop. If the condition is false due to some initial value, the statement inside of the while loop will never happen. This is appropriate in some cases.

4 Java Curriculum for AP Computer Science, Student Lesson A12 3 B. Loop Boundaries 1. The loop boundary is the boolean expression that evaluates as true or false. We must consider two aspects as we devise the loop boundary. a. It must eventually become false, which allows the loop to exit. b. It must be related to the task of the loop. When the task is done, the loop boundary must become false. 2. There are a variety of loop boundaries of which two will be discussed in this section. 3. The first is the idea of attaining a certain count or limit. The code in section A.4 above is an example of a count type of boundary. Student Answer: 4. Sample problem: In the margin to the left, write a program fragment that prints the even numbers Use a while loop. 5. A second type of boundary construction involves the use of a sentinel value. In this category, the while loop continues until a specific value is entered as input. The loop watches out for this sentinel value, continuing to execute until this special value is input and then breaking out from the loop. You have already used the break statement for switch statements, and it has a similar use here. Once the loop encounters the break statement, all further checks of the boundary condition are ignored and code execution continues after the end of the while loop. For example, here is a loop that keeps a running total of non-zero integers, terminated by a value of zero. Scanner in = new Scanner(System.in); int total = 0; int number; while (true){ System.out.print ("Enter a number (0 to quit) --> "); number = in.nextint(); if(number == 0){ break; else{ total += number; System.out.println("Total = " + total); Notice that because we don t know how many times we want the loop to run, we simply declare the boundary condition as always true. This means the loop will run until we tell it to stop with the break command. 6. A similar construct to the break statement is the continue statement. When a loop encounters a continue statement, every statement left to execute in that specific iteration is ignored. The loop will then go back to check its boundary condition like normal. Continue statements can be

5 Java Curriculum for AP Computer Science, Student Lesson A12 4 useful for ignoring special cases (such as if you want to ignore an entry of zero in a loop that may use that number as a divisor). C. Conditional Loop Strategies 1. This section will present a variety of strategies that assist the novice programmer in developing correct while loops. The problem to be solved is described first. Problem statement: A program will read integer test scores from the keyboard until a negative value is typed in. The program will drop the lowest score from the total and print the average of the remaining scores. 2. One strategy in designing a while loop is to think about the following four sections of the loop: 1) initialization, 2) loop boundary, 3) contents of the loop and 4) the state of variables after the loop. a. Initialization - Variables will usually need to be initialized before you get into the loop. This is especially true of while loops since the boundary condition is at the top of the control structure. b. Loop boundary - You must construct a Boolean expression that becomes false when the problem is done. This is the most common source of error in coding a while loop. Be careful of off-by-one errors that cause the loop to happen one too few or one too many times. c. Contents of the loop - This is where the problem is solved. The statement of the loop must also provide the opportunity to reach the loop boundary. If there is no movement toward the loop boundary, you will get stuck in an infinite loop. d. State of variables after the loop - To ensure the correctness of your loop you must determine the status of key variables used in your loop. One way to do this is by tracing the code on paper. 3. We now solve the problem by first developing pseudocode. Pseudocode: initialize total and count to 0 initialize smallest to Integer.MAX_VALUE get first score while score is not a negative value increment total increment count change smallest if necessary get next score

6 Java Curriculum for AP Computer Science, Student Lesson A12 5 subtract smallest from total calculate average 4. And now it is easy to develop a working loop from this concise and easy to read pseudocode. 5. Tracing code is best done in a chart or table format. It keeps your data organized better than marking values all over the page. We now trace the following sample data input score score >= 0 total count smallest undefined undefined 0 0 INT_MAX 65 true true true true true false When the loop is terminated, the three key variables (total, score, and smallest) contain the correct answers. D. The for Loop 1. The for loop has the same effect as a while loop, but uses a different format. The general form of a for loop is: for (statement1; expression2; statement3){ statement4; The for loop is typically set up as follows. statement1 initializes the loop variable expression2 is a boolean expression statement3 alters the key value, usually via an increment/decrement statement statement4 is the task to be done during each iteration 2. Here is an example of a for loop, used to print the integers for (int loop = 1; loop <= 10; loop++){ System.out.print(loop);

7 Java Curriculum for AP Computer Science, Student Lesson A The flow of control in a for loop is illustrated below: Notice that after the statement is executed, control passes to the increment/decrement statement, and then back to the Boolean condition. 4. The following is the equivalent while loop: int loop = 1; while (loop <= 10){ System.out.print( loop); loop++; 5. A for loop is appropriate when the initialization value and number of iterations is known in advance. The above example of printing 10 numbers is best solved with a for loop because the number of iterations of the loop is well defined. 6. Constructing a for loop is easier than a while loop because the key structural parts of a loop (initialization, loop boundary, and increment/decrement statement) are contained in one line. It is also easier to visually check the correctness of a for loop because it is so compact. 7. A while loop is more appropriate when the boundary condition is tied to some input or changing value inside of the loop. 8. Here is an interesting application of a for loop to print the alphabet: char letter; for (letter = 'A'; letter <= 'Z'; letter++){ System.out.print(letter); The increment statement letter++ will add one to the ASCII value of letter. 9. A simple, but time-consuming error to find and fix is the accidental use of a null statement.

8 Java Curriculum for AP Computer Science, Student Lesson A12 7 for (loop = 1; loop <= 10; loop++); // note ; System.out.print(loop); The semicolon placed at the end of the first line causes the for loop to do "nothing" 10 times. The output statement will only happen once after the for loop has done the null statement 10 times. The null statement can be used as a valid statement in control structures. Make sure you pay attention to your enclosing {. 10. There are two basic options for the variable used in the for loop. The variable can either be declared beforehand and therefore initially have a value set at another point in the program, or it can be declared and initialized within the for loop itself. Consider the following two for loops: int number = 1; for(; number <= 10; number++){ System.out.println(number); for(int a = 1; a <= 10; a++){ System.out.println(a); Notice how the first statement of the first for loop is blank. This is because the int variable number has already been declared and initialized. Blank statements within the for loop are allowed. Now, both for loops appear to do the exact same thing, printing out all the numbers from 1 to 10. However, there are several key differences. In the first example, number may be changed to any number desired during the run of the program. Instead of setting it to one, a programmer could set it to the value of a function such as int number = getvalidnumber(). This gives additional power to the programmer. Another difference between the two loops is the scope of the variables number and a. Because number was declared outside of the for loop, the value of number may be used after the for loop. However, a was declared within the for loop and thus will not be usable past the end bracket of the for loop. E. Nested Loops 1. To nest loops means to place one loop inside of another loop. The statement of the outer loop will be another inner loop. 2. The following example will print a rectangular grid of stars with 4 rows and 8 columns. for (int row = 1; row <= 4; row++){ for (int col=1; col <= 8; col++){ System.out.print("*"); System.out.println( );

9 Java Curriculum for AP Computer Science, Student Lesson A12 8 Run Output: ******** ******** ******** ******** 3. For each occurrence of the outer row loop, the inner col loop will print 8 stars, terminated by the newline character. 4. The action of nested loops can be analyzed using a chart: row col 1 1 to to to to 8 5. Suppose we wanted to write a method that prints out the following 7-line pattern of stars: ******* ****** ***** **** *** ** * 6. Here is an analysis of the problem, line-by-line. Line # # spaces # stars L L - 1 N - L + 1 For a picture of N lines, each line L will have (L-1) spaces and (N-L+1) stars. 7. Here is a pseudocode version of the method. A method to print a pattern of stars: Print N lines of stars, each Line L consists of (L-1) spaces (N-L+1) stars a line feed

10 Java Curriculum for AP Computer Science, Student Lesson A Here is the code version of the method. void picture (int n){ int line, spaces, stars, loop; for (line = 1; line <= n; line++){ spaces = line - 1; for (loop = 1; loop <= spaces; loop++){ System.out.print (" "); // print a blank space stars = n - line + 1; for (loop = 1; loop <= stars; loop++){ System.out.print ("*"); System.out.println(); F. The do-while Loop (optional) 1. There are conditional looping situations where it is desirable to have the loop execute at least once, and then evaluate an exit expression at the end of the loop. 2. The do-while loop allows you to do a statement first, and then evaluate an exit condition. The do-while loop complements the while loop that evaluates the exit expression at the top of the loop. 3. The general form of a do-while loop is: do{ statement; while (expression); 4. The flow of control for a do-while loop is illustrated:

11 Java Curriculum for AP Computer Science, Student Lesson A The following fragment of code will keep a running total of integers, terminated by a sentinel zero value. int number, total = 0; do{ System.out.print("Enter an integer (0 to quit) -- > "); number = in.readint(); total += number; while (number!= 0); In contrast to the while loop version, the do-while has the advantage of using only one input statement inside of the loop. Because the Boolean condition is at the bottom, you must pass through the main body of a do-while loop at least once. 6. The same strategies used to develop while loops apply to do-while loops. Make sure you think about the following four sections of the loop: initialization, loop boundary, contents of the loop, and the state of variables after the loop. G. Choosing a Loop Control Structure See Handout A12.1, Programming Pointers 1. If you know how many times a loop is to occur, use a for loop. Problems that require execution of a pre-determined number of loops should be solved with a for statement. 2. The key difference between a while and do-while loop is the location of the boundary condition. In a while loop, the boundary condition is located at the top of the loop. Potentially, the statements within a while loop could happen zero times. If it is possible for the algorithm to occur zero times, use a while loop. 3. Because a do-while loop has its boundary condition at the bottom of the loop, the loop body must occur at least once. If the nature of the problem being solved requires at least one pass through the loop, use a do-while loop. H. Loop Invariants 1. A loop invariant is an assertion about the loop that is relevant to the purpose of the loop. It is a precise statement, in terms of the loop variables, of what is true before and after each iteration of the loop. 2. Loop invariants are used to reason about programs formally and to prove their correctness without tracing all the iterations through a loop. If you can establish that an assertion is true the first time the loop is evaluated as well as after each iteration of the loop body, then your assertion is a loop invariant.

12 Java Curriculum for AP Computer Science, Student Lesson A Consider the following code segment. Note that count! means the factorial of count. int factorial (int num){ int product = 1; int count = 0; while (count < num){ // invariant: product == count! count += 1; product *= count; return product; Each time that the loop test is evaluated, the value of the variable product is always equal to (count)!. Since 0! = 1 (by definition), this is true the first time the loop test is evaluated as well as after each iteration of the loop body. Since product == count! is true each time the loop test is evaluated, it is the loop invariant the truth of the statement does not vary or change. Loop invariants are useful in reasoning about the correctness of programs that use loops. Since product == count! is an invariant, and product is returned, we can reason that the factorial method calculates the correct value. SUMMARY/ REVIEW: This lesson provides both syntax and strategies needed to build correct while and for loops. The terminology of loop construction will give us tools to build and debug conditional loops. We can use terms such as "off-by-one" errors or "failure to maintain state." This is a critical topic, one that takes much time and practice to master. Learning to translate thoughts into computer algorithms is one of the more challenging aspects of programming. We solve repetitive and selection problems constantly without thinking about the sequence of events. Using pseudocode helps translate your thinking into code. ASSIGNMENT: Lab Assignment A12.1, FunLoops Lab Assignment A12.2, Pictures Lab Assignment A12.3, Loan Table Lab Assignment A12.4, Grades Lab Assignment A12.5, Payments Lab Assignment A12.6, ParallelLines Lab Assignment A12.7, GameLand Worksheet A12.1, while Loops Worksheet A12.2, for Loops Worksheet A12.3, Conditional Loop Practice Handout A12.1, Programming Pointers

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