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6.11: Exercises

  • Page ID
  • Exercise \(\PageIndex{1}\)

    Draw a stack diagram for the following program. What does the program print?

    def b(z):
        prod = a(z, z)
        print(z, prod)
        return prod
    def a(x, y):
        x = x + 1
        return x * y
    def c(x, y, z):
        total = x + y + z
        square = b(total)**2
        return square
    x = 1
    y = x + 1
    print(c(x, y+3, x+y))

    Exercise \(\PageIndex{2}\)

    The Ackermann function, A(m, n), is defined:

    \[ \begin{cases} n+1 & \text{if $m=0$} \\ A(m-1, 1) & \text{if $m > 0$ and $n = 0$} \\ A(m-1, A(m, n-1)) & \text{if $m > 0$ and $n > 0$} \end{cases} \nonumber \]

    See Write a function named ack that evaluates the Ackermann function. Use your function to evaluate ack(3, 4), which should be 125. What happens for larger values of m and n?


    Exercise \(\PageIndex{3}\)

    A palindrome is a word that is spelled the same backward and forward, like “noon” and “redivider”. Recursively, a word is a palindrome if the first and last letters are the same and the middle is a palindrome.

    The following are functions that take a string argument and return the first, last, and middle letters:

    def first(word):
        return word[0]
    def last(word):
        return word[-1]
    def middle(word):
        return word[1:-1]

    We’ll see how they work in Chapter 8.

    1. Type these functions into a file named and test them out. What happens if you call middle with a string with two letters? One letter? What about the empty string, which is written '' and contains no letters?
    2. Write a function called is_palindrome that takes a string argument and returns True if it is a palindrome and False otherwise. Remember that you can use the built-in function len to check the length of a string.

    Exercise \(\PageIndex{4}\)

    A number, a, is a power of b if it is divisible by b and a/b is a power of b. Write a function called is_power that takes parameters a and b and returns True if a is a power of b.


    You will have to think about the base case.

    Exercise \(\PageIndex{5}\)

    The greatest common divisor (GCD) of a and b is the largest number that divides both of them with no remainder.

    One way to find the GCD of two numbers is based on the observation that if r is the remainder when a is divided by b, then gcd(a, b) = gcd(b, r). As a base case, we can use gcd(a, 0) = a.

    Write a function called gcd that takes parameters a and b and returns their greatest common divisor.


    This exercise is based on an example from Abelson and Sussman’s Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs.

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