Thank you for participating in this trial of a proposed new first year computing course. During this trial we would like you to consult demonstrators as much as you like. It is being run for us to iron out the problems in the course, and so we will be most appreciative of any feedback that you can give us about the course or the handbook. Of course, we also hope you will find the trial interesting and useful!

Like the Pascal course you did last year this trial consists of the following elements:

**Using the system**- Logging in; using the graphical interface; files; using the Python
interpreter; creating, editing, storing and running programs. You will
learn some of the skills associated with the use of the Unix operating
system.
**The elements of Python**- Learning enough of a programming language to write simple but useful
programs, while being introduced to the concepts of procedural
programming.
To introduce yourself to the basics of Python you will need to read through Chapter 3, ``The elements of Python'' and do the exercises given as you go along. If you do not understand how to tackle a particular exercise

.*please*consult a demonstratorThe handbook should contain all the information you need to complete the exercises and the problem you will be doing.

**Programming Problems**- Once you have gone through the introduction to Python we would like you
to attempt a more substantial problem. You may select one from the
following list (you may select the one you did in the first year if you
wish):
**CO11**- Quadratic Equation; straight line fitting by least squares
**CO12**- Nuclear decay and the Doppler effect
**CO13**- Numerical Integration by Simpson's rule and by a Monte Carlo method
**CO14**- Solution of non-linear equations; solution of a differential equation
**CO15**- Polynomial curve fitting by least squares
**CO16**- Graph plotting; Fourier Analysis

**Note:**whichever problem you choose, for the purposes of the trial it will be recorded as experiment CO91

Whilst it is not required, we would like you to use your logbooks to make notes as you do the course; in any case, you will not need to produce a write-up of the problem you attempt. Rather, we will ask you to discuss it with a demonstrator and fill in a questionnaire.

This course deliberately covers only a subset of Python, which is an extremely powerful and flexible language. In doing the course you should acquire skills applicable both to Python and to programming in general. Python has been chosen because it is possible to teach enough of the language to write useful programs relatively quickly, yet it is potentially a very powerful language, which is being increasingly used throughout academia and the commercial software industry.