Python indentation deters newbies?

Tim Hochberg tim.hochberg at
Tue Aug 17 17:48:52 CEST 2004

Jeff Shannon wrote:
> beliavsky at wrote:
>> You may want to exit a nested loop when testing if a condition involving
>> several variables is met, such as searching for a zero of a multivariate
>> function.
>> In Python you can print i,j,k and exit() when m == 0, but in a larger 
>> program
>> you may want more control.
> In this case, I can see several Pythonic ways of doing this.
> One would be to use an exception.  While exceptions are not considered 
> good control structures in other languages, they *are* considered 
> acceptable (and even desirable) in Python.
> Another way would be to wrap the nested loops inside a function, and 
> simply return the appropriate triple from that function as soon as you 
> find it.
> An improvement on that would be to replace your return statement with a 
> yield.  Suddenly you've got a generator that'll find a whole series of 
> Pythagorean triples!
[SNIP perfectly good Pythag. triple generator]

Just for fun, here's one that will spit out as many reduced pythagorean 
triples as you care to look at.


def gcd(a, b):
     # Euclidean alg.
     assert (b > 0) and (b > 0)
     if a < b:
         a, b = b, a
     while b:
         a, b = b, a % b
     return a

def rptriples():
     "generate reduced pythagorean triples"
     # Based on formulae from Mathworld, corrected by one from
     # planetMath.
     v = 1
     while True:
         u = 1 + (v%2) # u must be opposite parity from v
         while u < v:
             if gcd(u,v) == 1:
                 u2, v2 = u*u, v*v
                 a, b, c = v2-u2, 2*u*v, u2+v2
                 if a > b:
                     a, b = b, a
                 yield a, b, c
             u += 2
         v += 1

More information about the Python-list mailing list