PythonForAI Day 3 : Functions

Welcome to Day 3 of PythonForAI! Today, we will explore functions in Python, which are reusable blocks of code that perform specific tasks. We’ll cover how to define functions, pass arguments to them, and return values from them. Additionally, we’ll solve some practical problems to reinforce these concepts. Let’s dive in!

Topics to Cover

1. Defining and Calling Functions

Functions in Python are defined using the def keyword, followed by the function name and parentheses. You can call a function by using its name followed by parentheses.


def function_name(arguments):
    # code block to execute
    return value  # optional


# Function to greet a person
def greet(name):
    return f"Hello, {name}!"

# Calling the function
message = greet("Alice")
print(message)  # Output: Hello, Alice!

2. Function Arguments and Return Values

Functions can accept arguments (inputs) and return values (outputs). Arguments are specified inside the parentheses when defining the function, and return values are specified using the return keyword.

Example with Arguments and Return Values

# Function to add two numbers
def add_numbers(a, b):
    return a + b

# Calling the function
result = add_numbers(5, 3)
print("Result:", result)  # Output: Result: 8

Potential Problems to Solve

1. Write a Function to Check if a Number is Prime

A prime number is a number greater than 1 that has no divisors other than 1 and itself. Let’s write a function to check if a given number is prime.


def is_prime(number):
    if number <= 1:
        return False
    for i in range(2, int(number**0.5) + 1):
        if number % i == 0:
            return False
    return True

# Test the function
print(is_prime(7))    # Output: True
print(is_prime(14))   # Output: False
print(is_prime(23))   # Output: True

2. Create a Function to Calculate the Factorial of a Number

The factorial of a non-negative integer n is the product of all positive integers less than or equal to n. Let’s create a function to calculate the factorial of a given number.


def factorial(n):
    if n == 0:
        return 1
    result = 1
    for i in range(1, n + 1):
        result *= i
    return result

# Test the function
print(factorial(5))   # Output: 120 (because 5! = 5 * 4 * 3 * 2 * 1 = 120)
print(factorial(0))   # Output: 1 (because 0! is defined as 1)
print(factorial(1))   # Output: 1 (because 1! = 1)


Today, we explored the fundamentals of functions in Python, including how to define them, pass arguments to them, and return values from them. We also applied these concepts by solving two practical problems: checking if a number is prime and calculating the factorial of a number.

Functions are essential for organizing your code into reusable blocks, enhancing readability, and promoting code reusability. Tomorrow, we will delve into data structures such as lists, tuples, and dictionaries.

Keep practicing and experimenting with functions to strengthen your understanding. Feel free to leave any questions or comments below, and happy coding! 🐍🚀

Additional Resources

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: Can a function return multiple values in Python?
Yes, a function can return multiple values as a tuple, which can be unpacked into separate variables when calling the function.

Q2: What is the difference between arguments and parameters in Python functions?

  • Parameters are variables listed inside the parentheses in the function definition.
  • Arguments are the values passed into the function when it is called.

Q3: Can Python functions be recursive?
Yes, Python supports recursive functions, where a function can call itself within its definition.

Q4: How can I write docstrings for my functions?
Docstrings are triple-quoted strings (either single or double quotes) that describe the purpose of a function. They should be placed immediately after the function header and before the code block.

Q5: What is the scope of variables in Python functions?
Variables defined inside a function are local to that function and cannot be accessed outside of it unless explicitly returned. Global variables, defined outside of any function, can be accessed from within functions using the global keyword.


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