What to do for class


I’ll be adding assignments that are due in the current week, as well as upcoming tasks, including readings and “Hey, please sign up for this/configure your system in this way/etc”

The list of guides and tutorials can be found at: /articles


Title Due Date Points

Our first project: given a user-specified location, traverse a public dataset with geographic information, and deliver the user to a webpage showing the closest records/incidents.

2016-03-17 [Thursday] 50

Using an algorithm to classify a first name as “male” or “female”, estimate the gender breakdown for a public data set in three different ways. Write a short reflection about it.

2016-03-17 [Thursday] 100

Create a gender-detector program that makes its judgments by wrangling those plaintext baby name records from the Social Security Administration.

2016-03-08 [Tuesday] 6.5
Todo: Prepare for Gender Detector exercise.
2016-03-03 [Thursday] NA
Exercise: Watson Visual Recog Preview

Follow the instructions here:

2016-03-01 [Tuesday] NA
Reading: Fill out your geocoder

In your projects folder, complete the steps needed to have a geocode routine, as described in:

Create a functioning geocoder

2016-02-25 [Thursday] NA
Exercise Set: Sorting those Baby Names

Read (again) and sort a file of comma-delimited baby name records from the Social Security Administration.

2016-02-17 [Wednesday] 4.5
Todo: Signup for a Mapzen developer account and get a key

While we can use the Google Maps Geocoding API to do geocoding, the Mapzen Search service gives pretty good results with a lot fewer restrictions.

Here’s the landing page.

The rate limit is very generous:

Search early & search often. With Mapzen Search, you get up to 30,000 geocoding requests per day (and 6 per second) to do with as you wish.

And this is where you sign in:

After completing the process, you should find yourself at this page:

With a search key that looks something like:

2016-02-12 [Friday] NA
Todo: Read about Earthquake bots and other bots
2016-02-11 [Thursday] NA
Todo: Read about URL query strings
2016-02-10 [Wednesday] NA
Reading: Read about functions
2016-02-05 [Friday] NA
Todo: Write a README for data in Show-Me-Where-It's-At Project

In your compciv-2016 folder, create the file:


See the assignment as described on the the project description page

Visit the some-student repo to see an example of the file and the project folder.

2016-02-04 [Thursday] 10

Read and analyze a file of comma-delimited baby name records from the Social Security Administration.

2016-02-03 [Wednesday] 5.5

Before programmatically using an API, we need to study its response.

2016-02-02 [Tuesday] 3.5
Todo: Signup for a NYT Developers Account, create an Application

Using the New York Times data APIs simply requires creating an account on the New York Times site (if you’re already a subscriber, you should be good to go):

After signing in at, register a “New Application”:

And just select all the available APIs.

This is the typical workflow for working with any API. It’s so that the service can track (and limit) your usage.

2016-02-02 [Tuesday] NA
Reading: Read about Python strings, lists, and dictionaries

Read about these Python objects before attempting the homework assignments:

2016-01-27 [Wednesday] NA

Practicing the ins-and-outs of managing files and reading through them, featuring the works of Shakespeare.

2016-01-26 [Tuesday] 6.0
Exercise Set: Fizzbuzz Numberwang

Just a test of your understanding of loops and conditional statements.

2016-01-21 [Thursday] 1.5

This set of exercises is meant to as a hands-on overview to the concept of libraries and objects – and their methods and attributes – while throwing in the basic concept behind scraping webpages for data.

2016-01-19 [Tuesday] 4.5

Simple text printing.

2016-01-14 [Thursday] 4.0


The due dates are tentative and may just be placeholders.