# [Tutor] Giving a name to a function and calling it, rather than calling the function directly

Steven D'Aprano steve at pearwood.info
Sun Sep 5 02:25:32 CEST 2010

```On Sun, 5 Sep 2010 08:39:07 am lists wrote:

> while tossNo <= 99:
>     coinToss = random.randint

Move that out of the loop. There's no need to make the assignment 100
times.

>     tossNo += 1
>     if coinToss(1,2) == 1:
>     else:
>         tails += 1

Rather than count the number of loops yourself, let Python do the
counting:

import random
coinToss = random.randint
for tossNo in range(100):
if coinToss(1, 2) == 1:
else:
tails += 1

Can we do better? Absolutely! Since we know that there are exactly 100
coin tosses, and the number of heads plus the number of tails makes
100, why are we counting them both?

import random
coinToss = random.randint
for tossNo in range(100):
if coinToss(1, 2) == 1:

print "The coin landed on tails " + str(100-heads) + " times."
print "The coin landed on heads " + str(heads) + " times."

One small weakness -- if we ever decide to change the number of coin
tosses from 100 to some other number, we have to remember to change 100
in two places. We can fix that by defining a named constant. Python
doesn't actually have constants, so we use the naming convention "all
uppercase means this is a constant, please don't modify it":

import random
coinToss = random.randint
COUNT = 100
for tossNo in range(COUNT):
if coinToss(1, 2) == 1:

print "The coin landed on tails " + str(COUNT-heads) + " times."
print "The coin landed on heads " + str(heads) + " times."

Can we do better? Absolutely -- nothing says that heads must be 1 and
tails 2. If we make heads 1 and tails 0, we get a neat optimization:

import random
coinToss = random.randint
COUNT = 100
for tossNo in range(COUNT):

Can we do better? Yes. The function "coinToss" is misleading. It doesn't
toss a coin, not even figuratively speaking -- it takes two arguments,
and returns an integer between those two limits. How is that related to
tossing a coin? What are you going to do, this?

coinToss(1, 7)  # toss a seven-sided coin

No, that's ridiculous, and so the name is misleading. What your function
does is return a random integer. That's no surprise, because it's just
random.randint renamed. So let's fix that by making a proper coinToss
function:

import random
def coinToss():
return random.randint(0, 1)

COUNT = 100
for tossNo in range(COUNT):

Can we do better? Yes, for some definition of "better":

import random
import functools
coinToss = functools.partial(random.randint, 0, 1)
COUNT = 100
heads = sum(coinToss() for tossNo in range(COUNT))
print "The coin landed on tails %d times." % (COUNT-heads)

It's certainly short and concise. You should be able to guess what sum
does, and if you can guess what functools.partial does you're doing
well :)

--
Steven D'Aprano
```