Edwin - 2 months ago 17

Python Question

I'm currently trying to create a Python script that will autogenerate space-delimited arithmetic expressions which are valid. However, I get sample output that looks like this:

`( 32 - 42 / 95 + 24 ( ) ( 53 ) + ) 21`

While the empty parentheses are perfectly OK by me, I can't use this autogenerated expression in calculations since there's no operator between the 24 and the 53, and the + before the 21 at the end has no second argument.

What I want to know is, is there a way to account for/fix these errors using a Pythonic solution? (And before anyone points it out, I'll be the first to acknowledge that the code I posted below is probably the worst code I've pushed and conforms to...well, very few of Python's core tenets.)

`import random`

parentheses = ['(',')']

ops = ['+','-','*','/'] + parentheses

lines = 0

while lines < 1000:

fname = open('test.txt','a')

expr = []

numExpr = lines

if (numExpr % 2 == 0):

numExpr += 1

isDiv = False # Boolean var, makes sure there's no Div by 0

# isNumber, isParentheses, isOp determine whether next element is a number, parentheses, or operator, respectively

isNumber = random.randint(0,1) == 0 # determines whether to start sequence with number or parentheses

isParentheses = not isNumber

isOp = False

# Counts parentheses to ensure parentheses are matching

numParentheses = 0

while (numExpr > 0 or numParentheses > 0):

if (numExpr < 0 and numParentheses > 0):

isDiv = False

expr.append(')')

numParentheses -= 1

elif (isOp and numParentheses > 0):

rand = random.randint(0,5)

expr.append(ops[rand])

isDiv = (rand == 3) # True if div op was just appended

# Checks to see if ')' was appended

if (rand == 5):

isNumber = False

isOp = True

numParentheses -= 1

# Checks to see if '(' was appended

elif (rand == 4):

isNumber = True

isOp = False

numParentheses += 1

# All other operations go here

else:

isNumber = True

isOp = False

# Didn't add parentheses possibility here in case expression in parentheses somehow reaches 0

elif (isNumber and isDiv):

expr.append(str(random.randint(1,100)))

isDiv = False

isNumber = False

isOp = True

# If a number's up, decides whether to append parentheses or a number

elif (isNumber):

rand = random.randint(0,1)

if (rand == 0):

expr.append(str(random.randint(0,100)))

isNumber = False

isOp = True

elif (rand == 1):

if (numParentheses == 0):

expr.append('(')

numParentheses += 1

else:

rand = random.randint(0,1)

expr.append(parentheses[rand])

if rand == 0:

numParentheses += 1

else:

numParentheses -= 1

isDiv = False

numExpr -= 1

fname.write(' '.join(expr) + '\n')

fname.close()

lines += 1

Answer

Yes, you can generate random arithmetic expressions in a Pythonic way. You need to change your approach, though. Don't try to generate a string and count parens. Instead generate a random *expression tree*, then output that.

By an expression tree, I mean an instance of a class called, say, `Expression`

with subclasses `Number`

, `PlusExpression,`

MinusExpression`, 'TimesExpression`

, `DivideExpression`

, and `ParenthesizedExpression`

. Each of these, except `Number`

will have fields of type `Expression`

. Give each a suitable `__str__`

method. Generate some random expression objects and just print the "root."

Can you take it from here or would you like me to code it up?

**ADDENDUM**: Some sample starter code. Doesn't generate random expressions (yet?) but this can be added....

```
# This is just the very beginning of a script that can be used to process
# arithmetic expressions. At the moment it just defines a few classes
# and prints a couple example expressions.
# Possible additions include methods to evaluate expressions and generate
# some random expressions.
class Expression:
pass
class Number(Expression):
def __init__(self, num):
self.num = num
def __str__(self):
return str(self.num)
class BinaryExpression(Expression):
def __init__(self, left, op, right):
self.left = left
self.op = op
self.right = right
def __str__(self):
return str(self.left) + " " + self.op + " " + str(self.right)
class ParenthesizedExpression(Expression):
def __init__(self, exp):
self.exp = exp
def __str__(self):
return "(" + str(self.exp) + ")"
e1 = Number(5)
print e1
e2 = BinaryExpression(Number(8), "+", ParenthesizedExpression(BinaryExpression(Number(7), "*", e1)))
print e2
```

** ADDENDUM 2 **

Getting back into Python is really fun. I couldn't resist implementing the random expression generator. It is built on the code above. SORRY ABOUT THE HARDCODING!!

```
from random import random, randint, choice
def randomExpression(prob):
p = random()
if p > prob:
return Number(randint(1, 100))
elif randint(0, 1) == 0:
return ParenthesizedExpression(randomExpression(prob / 1.2))
else:
left = randomExpression(prob / 1.2)
op = choice(["+", "-", "*", "/"])
right = randomExpression(prob / 1.2)
return BinaryExpression(left, op, right)
for i in range(10):
print(randomExpression(1))
```

Here is the output I got:

```
(23)
86 + 84 + 87 / (96 - 46) / 59
((((49)))) + ((46))
76 + 18 + 4 - (98) - 7 / 15
(((73)))
(55) - (54) * 55 + 92 - 13 - ((36))
(78) - (7 / 56 * 33)
(81) - 18 * (((8)) * 59 - 14)
(((89)))
(59)
```

Ain't tooooo pretty. I think it puts out too many parents. Maybe change the probability of choosing between parenthesized expressions and binary expressions might work well....