Design of Computer Programs

Design of Computer Programs

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  • 8 Sequences
  • Introductive Level

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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




  • Peter Norvig - Peter Norvig is Director of Research at Google Inc. He is also a Fellow of the American Association for Artificial Intelligence and the Association for Computing Machinery. Norvig is co-author of the popular textbook Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach. Prior to joining Google he was the head of the Computation Sciences Division at NASA Ames Research Center.


Udacity is a for-profit educational organization founded by Sebastian Thrun, David Stavens, and Mike Sokolsky offering massive open online courses (MOOCs). According to Thrun, the origin of the name Udacity comes from the company's desire to be "audacious for you, the student". While it originally focused on offering university-style courses, it now focuses more on vocational courses for professionals.

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