Homework 2

Due: October 20, 2021
Points: 100

In the given examples, what you type is in red and the program prints what is in black. Your program output should look exactly like the output in the examples, except that what you type won’t be in red.

The Monty Hall problem is a very famous problem in probability. It’s based on an old TV show called “Let’s Make a Deal”. The stage of that show had 3 doors numbered “1”, “2”, and “3”. Behind one of the doors was a valuable prize (like a new car); the other two contained gag gifts (like a goat or a can of cat food). The host, Monty Hall (hence the name of the problem), would choose someone from the audience and ask them to pick a door. The contestant would choose one, say door “2”. Monty would then open one of the other doors that always had a gag gift behind it (say, door “1” for our example). He would then ask the contestant if he or she wanted to stay with door “2”, or change their selection to door “3”. The problem is to determine which action – keep or change – gives the contestant the greater probability of selecting the door with the real prize.

We’re going to answer this question by simulation — the technique is called a Monte Carlo method. Basically, we play a large number of games on the computer, always switching doors (or never switching doors), and record whether we won. We then divide the number of times we won by the number of trials, giving a number between 0 and 1 (inclusive). This is the probability that the strategy will cause the contestant to win.

We’re going to build this program in steps, because that will simplify writing it. It will also show you how a program is put together!

  1. (10 points) The basis for this simulation is a function that generates numbers randomly. Write a function that uses the Python random number generator (see section 4.5) to generate one of the numbers 1, 2, and 3 randomly. Then write a small program that calls this function 50 times and prints each number generated. Print the numbers on the same line with no intervening spaces.

    The function, and the program, take no input.

    To turn in: Please turn in the program in the file monty1.py.

  2. (50 points) Next, we will write functions to simulate playing one game.

    The basic approach is to generate a random number representing the door behind which the real prize sits, and another random number representing the door that the contestant initially selects. Monty opens the remaining door. Then, have the contestant switch doors (or not switch doors), and see if the contestant winds up with the door behind which the prize sits.

    Write two different functions to do this. The first, called montyalways(), has the contestant always changing doors after Monty opens the third door. The second, called montynever(), has the contestant never changing doors after Monty opens the third door. Both functions should return the Boolean value True if the contestant wins, and the Boolean False if she does not.

    Your function should not print anything. It should only return True or False.

    To turn in: Please turn in the program in the file monty2.py.

  3. (40 points) Now we will simulate a large number of games.

    Write a program that asks the user for the number of games to be played. Then play one set of games for the contestant always changing the door and another set for the contestant never changing the door. Print the resulting (decimal) fraction of times that the contestant wins, and the number of games won.

    For input, your program asks the user for the number of games to be played. This must be a positive integer. Remember to handle invalid inputs gracefully, by printing an error message and exiting the program.

    Here is what a correct input should look like (the red text is what you type):

    Number of games to play: 100000
    If the input is invalid:
    Number of games to play: hello
    Please enter a positive integer
    and then the program exits.

    The output of your program must look like this:

    Out of 100000 games:
    Always switching wins:  0.6680600 (66806 games)
    Never switching wins:  0.3346300 (33463 games)

    Important note: Don’t be surprised if your probabilities are slightly different than the ones shown in the sample output. As randomness is involved, it is very unlikely your numbers will match the ones shown here.

    To turn in: Please turn in the program in the file monty3.py.

Extra Credit

  1. (20 points) In the make_change.py program, change the output to reflect the following:
    1. If there is exactly 1 quarter, dime, nickel, or penny, your output uses the singular for the coin
    2. If there is more than 1 quarter, dime, nickel, or penny, your output uses the plural for the coin
    3. If there are no quarters, dimes, nickels, or pennies, do not print that coin
    4. If a non-positive integer, or a non-integer, is entered, give the error message “bad input; must be a positive integer” and quit
    5. If there are two different types of coins, put an “and” between them
    6. If there are three or more types of coins, put a comma after each type of coin except the last, and put an “and” between the last two types of coins.

    To turn in: Please turn in the program in the file new_make_change.py.


    Amount of change: 92
    92 cents is 3 quarters, 1 dime, 1 nickel, and 2 pennies

    Amount of change: 16
    16 cents is 1 dime, 1 nickel, and 1 penny

    Amount of change: 15
    15 cents is 1 dime and 1 nickel

    Amount of change: 30
    30 cents is 1 quarter and 1 nickel

    Amount of change: 34
    34 cents is 1 quarter, 1 nickel, and 4 pennies

    Amount of change: 1
    1 cent is 1 penny

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Matt Bishop
Office: 2209 Watershed Sciences
Phone: +1 (530) 752-8060
Email: mabishop@ucdavis.edu
ECS 235A, Computer and Information Security
Version of October 7, 2021 at 11:53PM

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