Welcome to Composing Programs, a free online introduction to programming and computer science.

In the tradition of SICP, this text focuses on methods for abstraction, programming paradigms, and techniques for managing the complexity of large programs. These concepts are illustrated primarily using the Python 3 programming language.

In addition to reading the chapters below, you can apply your knowledge to the programming projects that accompany the text and visualize program execution using the Online Python Tutor.

Instructors: If you are interested in adapting any of these materials for your courses, please fill out this short survey so that we can support your efforts.

Chapter 1: Building Abstractions with Functions

  • 1.1 Getting Started
  • 1.2 Elements of Programming
  • 1.3 Defining New Functions
  • 1.4 Designing Functions
  • 1.5 Control
  • 1.6 Higher-Order Functions
  • 1.7 Recursive Functions
  • Chapter 2: Building Abstractions with Data

  • 2.1 Introduction
  • 2.2 Data Abstraction
  • 2.3 Sequences
  • 2.4 Mutable Data
  • 2.5 Object-Oriented Programming
  • 2.6 Implementing Classes and Objects
  • 2.7 Object Abstraction
  • 2.8 Efficiency
  • 2.9 Recursive Objects
  • Chapter 3: Interpreting Computer Programs

  • 3.1 Introduction
  • 3.2 Functional Programming
  • 3.3 Exceptions
  • 3.4 Interpreters for Languages with Combination
  • 3.5 Interpreters for Languages with Abstraction
  • Chapter 4: Data Processing

  • 4.1 Introduction
  • 4.2 Implicit Sequences
  • 4.3 Declarative Programming
  • 4.4 Unification
  • 4.5 Distributed Computing
  • 4.6 Distributed Data Processing
  • 4.7 Parallel Computing