Mistakenly, computer scientists are still often considered the magicians of modern times. Computers have slowly crept into our businesses, our homes and our machines, and have become important enablers in the functioning of our world. However, there are many that use these devices without really mastering them, and hence, they do not fully enjoy their benefits. Knowing how to program provides the ability to fully exploit their potential to solve problems in an efficient manner. Algorithms and programming techniques have become a necessary background for many professions. Their mastery allows the development of creative and efficient computer-based solutions to problems encountered every day.
This text presents a variety of algorithmic techniques to solve a number of classic problems. It describes practical situations where these problems arise, and presents simple implementations written in the programming language Python. Correctly implementing an algorithm is not always easy: there are numerous traps to avoid and techniques to apply to guarantee the announced running times. The examples in the text are embellished with explanations of important implementation details which must be respected.
For the last several decades, programming competitions have sprung up at every level all over the world, in order to promote a broad culture of algorithms. The problems proposed in these contests are often variants of classic algorithmic problems, presented as frustrating enigmas that will never let you give up until you solve them!
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