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General background information

In an earlier module (see Resources ) , I told you that any programming logic problem could be solved using anappropriate combination of only three programming structures, none of which are complicated. The three structures are known generally as:

  • The sequence structure.
  • The selection or decision structure.
  • The loop, repetition, or iteration structure.

I explained the sequence and selection structures in earlier modules. I will concentrate on the loop structure in this and the next module.

Definite versus indefinite loops

Loop structures in programming fall into two broad categories:

  • Definite loops
  • Indefinite loops

There are numerous sub-categories within these broad categories. I will illustrate the difference between a definite loop and an indefinite loop with two real-world examples.

A definite loop example

Assume that you are confronted with a full box of cookies. Assume also that you have more self-control than most of us, and that you decide you can eatthree cookies, but no more than three, in order to keep your waistline under control. You might eat the three cookies using an algorithm something like thatshown in Image A .

Image a. a definite loop for eating cookies.

for count = 1 to 3 Take cookie from boxEat cookie Increase count by oneGo back to the test at the top of the loop Stop eating cookies
Image A. A definite loop for eating cookies.

Explanation of the definite loop

Being the self-controlled individual that you are, you would set your cookie limit to 3 and you would set count to 1. You would then test count to see if it is within the range from 1 to 3 inclusive. If so, you would take acookie from the box and eat it. Then you would increase the value of count by 1 and go back to the top of the loop.

Back at the top of the loop, you would once again test the value of count to determine if it is still within the range from 1 to 3 inclusive. If so, youwould repeat the process, getting and eating another cookie, increasing the value of count by 1, and going back to the top of the loop.

When you find that the value of count has advanced to 4, you would recognize that this is outside the range of 1 to 3 inclusive. As a result, youwould terminate the loop and stop eating cookies. Well done!

An indefinite loop example

Assume once again that you are confronted with the same full box of cookies. However, like many of us, you aren't blessed with a lot of self-control. In thatcase, you might eat cookies using the algorithm shown in Image B .

Image b. an indefinite loop for eating cookies.

Set the value of stillHungry to true while ((stillHungry is true) and (box is not empty))Take cookie from box Eat cookieIf I am no longer hungry Set stillHungry to falseGo back to the test at the top of the loop Stop eating cookies
Image B. An indefinite loop for eating cookies.

Explanation of the indefinite loop

Unfortunately, for many of us, as soon as we see the full box of cookies, our stillHungry variable gets set to true.

We begin the process by performing a test to determine if stillHungry is true and the box of cookies is not empty. If that test returns true, we take a cookie from the box and eat it. Then we perform another test. If weare no longer hungry at that point, we set our stillHungry variable to false and go back to test at the top of the loop. Otherwise, we allow our stillHungry variable to remain true.

Back at the top of the loop, we test again to determine if stillHungry is true, and the box of cookies is not empty. If the test returns true, we gothrough the process again, eating another cookie, etc.

Questions & Answers

Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Teaching beginners to code. OpenStax CNX. May 27, 2013 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11498/1.20
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