Teaching basic lab skills
for research computing

Assembling a Program

The seventh episode of our lecture on program design is now online. In this one, we actually assemble a complete version of the program step by step using the pieces designed earlier. The final program still has one nasty bug, though, and I'll award a Software Carpentry mug to the first person who can find it (source code attached to this post). For reference, the first six episodes are listed below, along with another link to this one.

  1. Introduction
  2. The Grid
  3. Aliasing
  4. Randomness
  5. Finding Neighbors
  6. Resolving Ties
  7. Assembling the Program
#!/usr/bin/env python
'''Invasion Percolation Simulation

usage: invperc.py grid_size value_range random_seed

grid_size:   the width/height of the grid
             must be a positive odd integer

value_range: number of distinct values in grid
             must be a positive integer
             values will be selected randomly in 1..value_range

random_seed:   random number generation seed
             must be a positive integer

import sys, random

FILLED = -1    # Used to mark filled cells.

def fail(msg):
    print >> sys.stderr, msg

def create_random_grid(N, Z):
    '''Return an NxN grid of random values in 1..Z.
    Assumes the RNG has already been seeded.'''

    assert N > 0, 'Grid size must be positive'
    assert N%2 == 1, 'Grid size must be odd'
    grid = []
    for x in range(N):
        for y in range(N):
            grid[-1].append(random.randint(1, Z))
    return grid

def mark_filled(grid, x, y):
    '''Mark a grid cell as filled.'''

    assert 0 <= x < len(grid), \
           'X coordinate out of range (%d vs %d)' % \
           (x, len(grid))
    assert 0 <= y < len(grid), \
        'Y coordinate out of range (%d vs %d)' % \
        (y, len(grid))

    grid[x][y] = FILLED

def is_candidate(grid, x, y):
    '''Is a cell a candidate for filling?'''

    N = len(grid)
    return (x > 0)   and (grid[x-1][y] == FILLED) \
        or (x < N-1) and (grid[x+1][y] == FILLED) \
        or (y > 0)   and (grid[x][y-1] == FILLED) \
        or (y < N-1) and (grid[x][y+1] == FILLED)

def find_candidates(grid):
    '''Find low-valued neighbor cells.'''

    N = len(grid)
    min_val = sys.maxint
    min_set = set()
    for x in range(N):
        for y in range(N):
            if is_candidate(grid, x, y):
                if grid[x][y] == min_val:
                    min_set.add((x, y))
                elif grid[x][y] < min_val:
                    min_val = grid[x][y]
                    min_set = set([(x, y)])

    return min_set

def fill_grid(grid):
    '''Fill an NxN grid until filled region hits boundary.'''

    N, num_filled = len(grid), 0
    while True:
        candidates = find_candidates(grid)
        assert candidates, 'No fillable cells found!'
        x, y = random.choice(list(candidates))
        mark_filled(grid, x, y)
        num_filled += 1
        if x in (0, N-1) or y in (0, N-1):

    return num_filled

# Main driver.
if __name__ == '__main__':

    # Get parameters from command line.
    arguments = sys.argv[1:]
        grid_size = int(arguments[0])
        value_range = int(arguments[1])
        random_seed = int(arguments[2])
    except IndexError:
        fail('Expected 3 arguments, got %d' % len(arguments))
    except ValueError:
        fail('Expected integer arguments, got %s' % str(arguments))

    # Run simulation.
    grid = create_random_grid(grid_size, value_range)
    mark_filled(grid, grid_size/2, grid_size/2)
    num_filled_cells = fill_grid(grid) + 1
    print '%d cells filled' % num_filled_cells

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