The C++Course provides a general introduction to programming in C++. It is based on A.B. Downey's book, How to Think Like a Computer Scientist. Click here for details.


The goal of this book is to teach you to think like a computer scientist. I like the way computer scientists think because they combine some of the best features of Mathematics, Engineering, and Natural Science. Like mathematicians, computer scientists use formal languages to denote ideas (specifically computations). Like engineers, they design things, assembling components into systems and evaluating tradeoffs among alternatives. Like scientists, they observe the behavior of complex systems, form hypotheses, and test predictions.

The single most important skill for a computer scientist is problem-solving. By that I mean the ability to formulate problems, think creatively about solutions, and express a solution clearly and accurately. As it turns out, the process of learning to program is an excellent opportunity to practice problem-solving skills. That's why this chapter is called "The way of the program."

Of course, the other goal of this book is to prepare you for the Computer Science AP Exam. We may not take the most direct approach to that goal, though. For example, there are not many exercises in this book that are similar to the AP questions. On the other hand, if you understand the concepts in this book, along with the details of programming in C++, you will have all the tools you need to do well on the exam.

Last Update: 2005-11-21