File Byte Reader

Writing code to read or write text files can be tricky because the exact contents of a file cannot be viewed in a text editor if the file contains non-printable characters such as line feeds or carriage returns. This simple utility program will take a filename as a command line argument and print out its exact contents, including descriptions of any non-printable or whitespace characters.

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Complex Numbers in Python – An Introduction

The Python language provides comprehensive support for complex numbers, with basic functionality being included with the core language and more advanced features included in the cmath module.

This article will demonstrate the basic operations such as arithmetic which does not require any additional modules. I will also go a bit further than that by writing code to carry out these operations without using the Python operators; of course you wouldn't do this in production code but it does provide an insight into how these operations and complex numbers in general work.

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Plotting Taylor Series

Previous posts have included an SVG library, memoization of factorials and Taylor Polynomials. In this post I will bring these all together to plot various sine waves created using Taylor Polynomials.

Taylor Polynomials are used to approximate functions, in this case sine, to any level of accuracy. We can plot these levels to show how they become increasingly accurate, which is the subject of this post.

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Logarithmic Plots

The majority of data can easily be plotted on a graph with equal intervals on the axes, for example 1, 2, 3 or 100, 200, 300 etc.. Some data, typically that which increases or decreases exponentially, cannot comfortably be graphed on such a scale without squashing the data up so much at one end that it becomes incomprehensible. The solution to this problem is to use a logarithmic scale.

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Normal Distribution

One of the most useful bits of number-crunching you can do is to calculate the probability distribution of a set of data in the earnest hope that it will be a reasonable fit for one of the recognised distributions such as the normal distribution. In this project I will write a Python class to calculate the normal distribution for a given data set.

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Memoization of Factorials

I am currently working on an article about calculating sines and cosines using Taylor Polynomials. These make heavy use of factorials so I started thinking about ways to streamline the process.

This post consists of a simple project using memoization with a lookup table to pre-calculate factorials and store them for future use.

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Logarithms: A Practical Use

This is a simple Python project demonstrating a useful application of logarithms. The logarithm of a number to a specified base is the power to which the base must be raised to get the number. Since their invention by John Napier in the 17th century until a few decades ago slide rules and books of log tables were used to simplify multiplication by turning it into a process of addition. Modern science, technology and engineering all depended on that simple idea.

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