Credit Card Validation (Python 3.x)

If you ever wondered how Credit Card Numbers, IMEI Numbers or Canadian Social Insurance Numbers are validated you can take a look at this Programming Praxis article . It’s all about a simple, tiny, patented (now public domain) algorithm invented by IBM’s computer scientist Hans Peter Luhn .

The validation is pretty simple, and works this way:

1. Given a number we will consider the last digit a check-digit .
2. Starting from the check digit backwards we will multiply by 2 every even digit .
3. We will sum all digits (both doubled and undoubled) .
4. If the sum is a multiple of 10 then the number is valid, else is invalid .

Example:

5 4 3 2 9 8 3 7 6
5 8 3 4 9 (1+6) 3 (1+4) 6 = 50 (which is a muliple of 10, thus the number is valid)

I’ve written the implementation of this simple algorithm using python 3.x . The solution can become rather elegant if we use the functional programming features that python offers us:

And the output:

Observations: Read More

RPN Calculator (using Scala, python and Java)

1. Description

One of the earliest Programming Praxis challenges is called RPN Calculator . Our task is to write a RPN module capable of evaluating simple RPN expressions and return the right result . The exact requirment:

Implement an RPN calculator that takes an expression like 19 2.14 + 4.5 2 4.3 / - * which is usually expressed as (19 + 2.14) * (4.5 - 2 / 4.3) and responds with 85.2974. The program should read expressions from standard input and print the top of the stack to standard output when a newline is encountered. The program should retain the state of the operand stack between expressions.

Programming Praxis

The natural algorithm to resolve this exercise is stack-based :

The first step is to tokenize the expression .If the expression is “19 2.14 + 4.5 2 4.3 / – *” after the tokenization the resulting structure will be an array of operands and operators, for example an array of Strings {“19”, “2.14”, “+”, “4.5”, “2”, “4.3”, “/”, “-“, “*”} .
At the second step we iterate over the array of tokens .If the token:

  • Is an operand (number, variable) – we push in onto the stack .
  • Is an operator (we apriopri know the operator takes N arguments), we pop N values from the stack, we evaluate the operator with those values as input parameters, we push the result back onto the stack .
If the RPN expression is valid, after we apply the previous steps, the stack would contain only one value, which is the result of the calculation .

2. Implementation

I will implement the solutions for this challenge using three different languages: Scala, python and Java .

2.1 Scala Solution

And if we compile and run the above code: Read More

ROT13 (Caesar Cipher)

In this ProgrammingPraxis challenge we have to build a simple Caesar Cipher with a special property, called rot13 :

ROT13 (“rotate by 13 places“, sometimes hyphenated ROT-13) is a simple substitution cipher used in online forums as a means of hiding spoilers, punchlines, puzzle solutions, and offensive materials from the casual glance. ROT13 has been described as the “Usenet equivalent of a magazine printing the answer to a quiz upside down”.ROT13 is an example of the Caesar cipher, developed in ancient Rome. (Wikipedia)

Applying ROT13 to a piece of text merely requires examining its alphabetic characters and replacing each one by the letter 13 places further along in the alphabet, wrapping back to the beginning if necessary. A becomes NB becomes O, and so on up to M, which becomes Z, then the sequence continues at the beginning of the alphabet: N becomes AO becomes B, and so on to Z, which becomes M. Only those letters which occur in the English alphabet are affected; numbers, symbols, whitespace, and all other characters are left unchanged. Because there are 26 letters in the English alphabet and 26 = 2 × 13, the ROT13 function is its own inverse. (Wikipedia)

Write a function that takes a string and returns the ROT13 version of the string; you may assume that the character set is ascii. What is the meaning of “Cebtenzzvat Cenkvf vf sha!” .

The transition table for rot13:

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z A B C D E F G H I J K L M

Examples of transitions:

The Wall
Gur Jnyy
Smoke on the water Fzbxr ba gur jngre

Initially I wanted to resolve the challenge in a functional programming language. Given the fact that my Haskell skills are very low, I’ve tried to write a functional approach in python . The results… lesser readability, fewer lines of code & fewer minutes:

And the output:

Read More