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COSC122 Lab 2
Stacks and Queues
Goals
This lab will provide you with some practice with Stacks and Queues. In this lab you will:
• complete the implementations for simple stack and queue classes.
• evaluate the speed of stack, queue and deque operations.
• learn how to say deque without confusing everyone.
• apply stacks, queues and deques to the evaluation and transformation of simple equations.
You should be familiar with the material in Chapter 3 of the textbook, ie, Basic Data Structures. 1
Python doesn’t provide specialised stack or queue implementations, but its list can be utilised as
either of them. The stack.py and queue122.py modules contain the class definitions for a Stack and
Queue respectively. They both use a Python list internally to keep track of stack/queue items and they
both provide proper interfaces for working with a stacks and a queues.
Your first job is to fill in the code for the relevant methods in each module. That is, they’re missing
implementations for the most important methods: push/pop/peek and enqueue/dequeue! Before you
start you should unzip all the lab files to a suitably named folder—lab2 would be a good name for such
a folder, then from there you can open the relevant files as you need them.
Implementing a Stack and a Queue
Complete the missing implementations for both the Stack and Queue classes in the stacks and queue122
modules using the self._data lists created in their constructors.2
Remember that a stack is ‘last-in–first-out’ (LIFO), and a Queue is ‘first-in–first-out’ (FIFO). The
stack implementation should push and pop items from the end of the list; with the queue implementation it doesn’t matter which end of the list you decide to add items to as long as dequeue returns the
right value from the other end of the list.
When you’ve completed your implementations you can manually experiment with the classes, for
example:
from stack import Stack
>>> s = Stack()
>>> s.push(1)
>>> s.push(2)
>>> s.push(3)
>>> len(s)
3
>>> s.pop()
3
>>> s.peek()
2
>>> from queue122 import Queue
>>> q = Queue()
>>> q.enqueue(1)
>>> q.enqueue(2)
>>> q.enqueue(3)
>>> len(q)
3
>>> q.dequeue()
1
1http://interactivepython.org/runestone/static/pythonds/BasicDS/toctree.html
2Check out help(list) in the shell if you can’t remember which methods are helpful.
Doctests are handy
You can also test the modules with the doctests for each of the classes (by running the file in Wing).
Initially you should get a failure for all the tests for the functions that aren’t implemented. As you
implement functions correctly you should get fewer and fewer errors until finally you reach a blissful state of nothingness (by default doctests will give no output if everything is as expected). The
doctests in each module will run automatically (you can stop them running by commenting out the
doctest.testmod() line at the end of the module).
> Complete the Stack and Queue Classes questions in Lab 2.
Timing Stack and Queue Operations
You should now open struct_timer.py and use it to run some time trials—you will see we have given
you some help to get started.
For each of the main stack and queue operations (ie, push, pop, enqueue and dequeue) carry out
the following five steps (writing your code into the struct_timer.py file):
1. Create a stack/queue (whichever is relevant for the operation you are testing) with 1,000,000
items.
2. Perform the given operation 100 times (eg, do 100 pushes).
3. Time step 2 using get_time().
4. Find the average time for a single operation (over this stack/queue size range).
5. Repeat the steps 2, 3 and 4 for an initial stack/queue size of 10,000,000 items.
Which operations look like O(1) and which look like O(n)?
> Complete the Stack and Queue Analysis questions in Lab Quiz 2.
The Deque Data Structure
A Deque is a queue that can have items added or removed from either the front or rear of the queue.
If you have read the textbook then you will know that deque is pronounced as ’deck’. A deque can be
thought of as a deck of cards – you can add a card to the bottom or top of the deck and you can remove a
card from the top or bottom (all depending on how dodgy your card playing is). Some people pronounce
deque as ’dee-cue’ but this is obviously going to get confused with dequeue operations!!!
Most of the methods for a Deque class have been implemented in the deque module. You will need
to complete the dequeue_front, and dequeue_rear methods.
Once you have completed the class you can run the doctests doctests for a quick check, but we
recommend you manually experiment with a Deque or two, for example:
>>> from deque import Deque
>>> d = Deque()
>>> d.enqueue_front(1)
>>> d.enqueue_front(2)
>>> d.enqueue_rear(3)
>>> d.dequeue_front()
2
>>> d.dequeue_rear()
3
>>> len(d)
1
> Complete the Deque Class question(s) in Lab Quiz 2.
2
Timing Deque Operations
Find the time taken by enqueue_front, enqueue_rear, dequeue_front, and dequeue_rear methods
by repeating steps one to five (from the Stack/Queue testing section).
> Complete the Deque Analysis questions in Lab Quiz 2.
Application: Mathematical Expressions
From lectures, you should be familiar with arithmetic expressions written in three different notations:
infix (3 + 4), prefix (+ 3 4), and postfix (3 4 +). The expressions.py module contains one completed
method: calculate and a number of incomplete methods that you will eventually write the code for.
The docstrings and doctests for each method describe their operation; refer to pages 95–103 of your
textbook for a deeper explanation of the algorithms. 3
Evaluating Postfix Expressions
Postfix is also known as Reverse Polish Notation (RPN) and was invented in the 1920s by Jan Łukasiewicz.
See (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reverse_Polish_notation) for more background.
Evaluating Postfix expressions can be done by using a stack. We give a few simple examples below
and suggest using a pen and paper to work through the use of a stack to evaluate the expressions, this
will give you a better feel for the algorithm before you actually write any Python code. For example, the
first expression should evaluate to 20.
Evaluate each of the following Postfix expressions by hand:
2 3 + 4 * 2 3 4 * + 2 3 4 + * 2 3 * 4 + 2 /
Why is a space/comma in between all operands necessary when writing equations in Postfix notation?
Now complete the evaluate_postfix method (in expressions.py) to save you all this laborious
hand-cranked evaluation . As described in the doctests, this method receives a string like 2 3 4 * +
and will evaluate it from left-to-right using a Stack, returning the result.
Converting Infix to Postfix Expressions
Converting from Infix to Postfix can be done by using a Stack. Simple expressions can be done in a
relatively intuitive way but we suggest you try using pen and paper to hand crank the conversions so that
you can get a feel for the algorithm. Your lecture handout includes the pseudo-code for this algorithm
and there is quick video demonstration available in the section for this topic on the quiz server.
Convert the following Infix expressions to Postfix notation by hand before you write the code:
4+3/2 4*3+2 4*(3+2) (3/2)+4
The constant definition below (a dictionary) is included (where relevant) to allow you to easily
lookup the precedence order of a given operator, eg, (OP_PREC[”+”]) will return 2 and (OP_PREC[”*”]
> OP_PREC[”+”]) will return True.
OP_PREC={“(“:1, “+”:2, “-“:2, “*”:3, “/”:3, “)”:4}
Now complete the infix_to_postfix method. As described in the doctests, this method takes
a string like 2 + 3 * 4 and converts it to a post-fix expression, returning 2 3 4 * + in this case.
Your function should create a Stack to store operators and should use the push/pop/peek methods as
needed rather than accessing the _data attribute of the stack directly. For example, my_stack.push(something)
rather than my_stack._data.append(something). The whole point of implementing a Stack class is
so that it can be used as a stack! Test your implementation with the doctests and your own experimentation.
> Complete the Express Yourself questions in Lab Quiz 2.
3http://interactivepython.org/runestone/static/pythonds/BasicDS/InfixPrefixandPostfixExpressions.
html
3
Extras
> Complete the Extras question(s) in Lab Quiz 2.
• Add support for exponentiation, indicated by a caret symbol (ˆ), to the postfix evaluator, infix-topostfix converter, and infix evaluator. The first operand is raised to the power of the second, and
exponentiation has a greater precedence than that of multiplication.
The following extras exercises are aimed at students who find themselves very comfortable with the
material in this lab and want to challenge themselves. Answering the questions may use ideas that don’t
feature in this lab and/or course.
• Implement a prefix_to_postfix function using a Stack.
Check out the pseudo code below for a rough guide. Implementing this function will
help you answer the prefix to postfix conversion question in the lab quiz (ie, the extension question). For extra fun you should think about how your function can tell if there
are too many operators—and raise an exception in this case. You don’t need to worry
about the case where there are too many operands as this will cause the stack to raise an
exception when it tries to pop while empty. We recommend working through this algorithm by hand with a few small expressions until you get a feel for it. For example, try
converting + * 3 4 2 and – + 5 4 * 2 3 from pre-fix to post-fix by hand using the algorithm
below.
# Pseudo code for pre-fix to post-fix
set LEFT_DONE = ‘Left done’ or similar. This is a handy dummy operator.
start with an empty stack for operators
for each token in the expression
if token is operator
just push the operator into the stack
else
the token is an operand so add it to the output sequence
# as the sequence of operand in prefix and postfix expressions are
# same so whenever any operand is found then it is passed to the
# output string immediately
# The following while loop is the most significant part of the algorithm.
# if there is a LEFT_DONE on the top of the stack then it is removed and
# the operator that was underneath it is removed and added to the output.
# The LEFT_DONE is a marker that actually indicates the left operand for
# this operator is already in the output sequence and the operand we have
# just added is going to be the right part of the operation.
# When there is no longer a LEFT_DONE operator on the stack we can finish
# the loop and consider the expression that has been generated to be the
# left part of a further expression, hence a LEFT_DONE is pushed onto the stack.]
while stack is not empty and LEFT_DONE is on the top of the stack
pop from the stack and discard (to remove the LEFT_DONE marker)
pop from the stack again and add the returned token to the output sequence
push LEFT_DONE onto stack
• Complete the evaluate_infix method. That is, a method to evaluate infix expressions directly
(don’t just return evaluate_postfix(infix_to_postfix(infix))!).
The general strategy will be similar to the way infix_to_postfix works, but evaluating operators as it encounters them, rather than converting them to a postfix string.
Think about where you might change the algorithm if you wanted to evaluate the expression rather than translate. To complete this method, you will want to maintain two
4
stacks: one for operators, and one for operands. Whenever you encounter an operand,
push it onto its stack; whenever you encounter an operator, process it as the infix converter does—making sure that whenever you pop an operator, you evaluate it as you
would for a postfix operator.
• Implement an evaluator for expressions in prefix notation.
This is slightly trickier than evaluating postfix notation because you have to have to read
ahead for each operator you encounter and only evaluate it if you have a complete set
of operator and operands. An approach you might want to take would be to enqueue
all the items at the rear of an deque, then dequeue from the front and apply the following process until only one item remains in the deque–this will be the answer. If there is
only one item remaining on the queue then it is the result. Otherwise, dequeue items
from the front of the deque until you have a valid expression (ie, a sequence with operator operand operand), stopping if you get a symbol that means you can’t get a valid 3
item expression (eg, if you get operator operator or operator operand operator or simply
operand as you can’t start an expression with an operand). If you get a valid expression
then calculate the result of that operator operand operand expression and enqueue it at
the rear of the deque. If you don’t have a valid expression then enqueue the last item that
was dequeued back to the front of the deque and enqueue the other items to the rear of
the deque (in the order that they were dequeued).
For example, evaluating + 6 – 3 2 would work as follows:
First enqueue everything to the rear of the deque, giving
deque front -> + 6 – 3 2
dequeue front makes our possible expression: +
dequeue front makes our possible expression: + 6
dequeue front makes our possible expression: + 6 –
This isn’t useful so put the – back on the front
and the + and 6 back on the rear
deque front -> – 3 2 + 6
dequeue front makes our possible expression: –
dequeue front makes our possible expression: – 3
dequeue front makes our possible expression: – 3 2
This is a good expression that evaluates to 1,
so we enqueue 1 at the rear of the deque
deque front -> + 6 1
dequeue front makes our possible expression: +
dequeue front makes our possible expression: + 6
dequeue front makes our possible expression: + 6 1
This is a good expression that evaluates to 7,
so we enqueue 7 at the rear of the deque
deque front -> 7
Only one item left in deque so this will be the final answer.
5

Lab 2 Stacks and Queues
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