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Introducing While loops (and random numbers too) Alice Interesting tidbit from lab Tracing code The problem: We were getting an array out of bounds error, but didn’t know on which iteration of the loop it was failing! The code looked something like: for (x=0; x<this.getWidth();x++) {

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interesting tidbit from lab
Interesting tidbit from lab
  • Tracing code
    • The problem: We were getting an array out of bounds error, but didn’t know on which iteration of the loop it was failing!
    • The code looked something like:

for (x=0; x<this.getWidth();x++)

{

for (y=0;y<this.getHeight();y++)

{

Pixel somepixel = this.getPixel(x,y);

interesting tidbit from lab3
Interesting tidbit from lab
  • Tracing code
    • The solution: Print out the values of x and y each time through the loops, to see where the problem is!
    • The debug code looked something like:

for (x=0; x<this.getWidth();x++)

{

for (y=0;y<this.getHeight();y++)

{

System.out.println(x + “ “ + y);

Pixel somepixel = this.getPixel(x,y);

lecture objectives
Lecture objectives
  • To examine the while loop in Alice
    • In Java, the while loop has been presented as an alternative to the for loop for going through the pixels in an array
    • It is used in another kind of application, when we do not know a priori how many iterations will be needed
      • For example, when random motion is involved
random numbers
Random Numbers
  • Random numbers are used in certain kinds of computer programs
  • Examples:
    • security for web applications
    • encryption for satellite transmissions
    • gaming programs
    • scientific simulations
  • In this session, we will look at examples of how to use random numbers in animations
built in functions
Built-in functions
  • Alice provides World-level built-in functions for generating random numbers.
slide7
Demo
  • 20Penguin
  • Concepts illustrated in this example
    • The random number function returns a floating point value between 0 and 1.
    • A different range of values can be obtained by using the minimumand maximum parameters.
    • The integer only option allows selection of either floating point or whole numbers.
random 3d motion
Random 3D Motion
  • In the previous example, the penguin moves in only one direction.
  • In some animations, we want an object to move to a random location in 3D. We call this random 3D motion.
  • For example, the goldfish in this world is to swim in a random motion, where the fish can move in any direction .
six possible directions
Six possible directions
  • Of course, six move directions are possible
    • forward, backward, left, right, up, down
  • In this example, we can eliminate backward because goldfish do not swim backward.
  • To simplify the code, we can take advantage of negative numbers.
    • For example, this instruction actually moves the goldfish right:
storyboard
Storyboard
  • Only three move instructions are needed:
    • up (will move down if the random number is negative)
    • left (will move right if random number is negative)
    • forward (no backward motion)
  • Two parameters (min, max) will be used to restrict the motion of the fish to a nearby location-- to look like swimming.

randomMotion

Parameters:min, max

Do together

fish moves up a random number distance

fish moves left a random number distance

fish moves forward a random number distance

slide11
Demo
  • 20Goldfish
  • Concepts illustrated in this example
    • A random movement in 3D space is accomplished by three simultaneous move instructions.
    • In this example, the minimum distance of the move forward instruction is 0 (the goldfish always moves forward).
    • To call the randomMotion method, min and max values are sent as arguments to the parameters
indefinite repetition
Indefinite repetition
  • In some situations, we don’t know exactly how many times a block of instructions should be repeated.
  • All we know is that repetition is needed
    • For example, in a board game like chess or checkers, we don’t know exactly how many moves it will take for a player to win or lose the game – all we know is that several moves will be needed.
indefinite repetition13
Indefinite Repetition
  • In programs where a count of repetitions is not known (indefinite), we can use one of two repetition control mechanisms:
    • While statement
    • Recursion
  • This session focuses on the While statement.
how the while statement works
How the While statement works
  • The general idea is:

While some condition is true

execute instruction(s)

  • To write a While statement, we need to know the condition that determines whether the loop will be repeated.
example
Example
  • A common feature in popular "action films" is an exciting chase scene.
  • As an illustration of an animated chase scene, consider the hungry shark in this world. The shark is going to chase after and catch a fleeing fish.
problem
Problem
  • The problem is how do we get the shark to chase the goldfish in a chase-like action?
    • The shark should not immediately catch the goldfish (otherwise, there would be no chase).
    • The goldfish (assuming self-preservation instincts) should appear to be fleeing.
solution
Solution
  • To create a chase scene,
    • At the same time, the shark will swim a short distance toward the fish and the fish will swim a short distance away from the shark.
    • The fish will flee to a random (but nearby) location.
    • As long as the goldfish is still 0.5 meters away from the shark, repeat the actions.
storyboard18
Storyboard

chase

While the goldfish is more than 0.5 meters away from the shark

Do in order

shark point at the goldfish

Do together

shark swim (toward the goldfish)

goldfish flee (away from the shark)

shark eat (the goldfish)

The shark swim, goldfish flee, and shark eat actions are complex. Use stepwise refinement to break them down into simple steps.

slide19

chase

While the goldfish is more than 0.5 meters from the shark

Do in order

Point the shark at the goldfish

Do together

shark swim

goldfish flee

shark eat (goldfish)

flee

Do together

wiggle tail

move to random location

swim

Do in order

urn torso left and move forward

turn torso right and move forward

turn torso left and move forward

Eat

Parameter: what

Do in order

shark points at what

shark opens jaw and what disappears

shark closes jaw

slide20
Demo
  • 20Chase
  • Concepts illustrated in this example
    • A While statement uses a Boolean condition to determine when the repetition ends.
    • Code written in a previous program can be reused in a new program.
      • In this example, the flee method calls the previously written randomMotion method.
shark will catch goldfish
Shark will catch goldfish
  • How do we know the shark will eventually catch the goldfish?
    • The shark always moves 0.4 meters toward the goldfish
    • The goldfish's random motion is restricted by the min and max values used in the random number function.
the loop will end
The loop will end
  • Geometrically, the fish can never move more than 0.35 meters away
  • The shark has a distance advantage and will eventually catch up. The loop will end.

0.35

0.2

0.2

0.2

general rule of thumb
General “Rule of Thumb”
  • As a general rule, a While loop should be written so the loop will eventually end.
    • Requires that statements within the loop change the conditions of the world such that the condition for the While statement will eventually become false.
  • If the While loop never ends, it is an infinite while loop.
reading
Reading
  • Alice Chapter 6, Tips & Techniques 6, Random Numbers and Random Motion
  • Alice Chapter 7-2, Indefinite While loops