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Containment Checks

Containment Checks

Project Goals

This engineering effort invites you to implement and use a program called containmentcheck that conducts an experiment to evaluate the performance of containment checking using the in operator for different types of data containers like tuples and lists. When you run the completed version of the containmentcheck program it will allow you to specify the size of the container, the maximum value of the integer values stored in the container, the type of data container, and whether or not the searching algorithm should look for a value that does or does not exceed the maximum value in the list. If you configure it correctly, the containmentcheck program will total and average time for using the in operator for the automatically generated lists. Specifically, containmentcheck will use the timeit package to measure the performance of the in operator for different data containers, following one of the approaches outlined in the article called measure execution time with timeit in Python. As you complete this engineering effort you will experimentally evaluate the claims in the following articles about the best way to determine if a specific value exists inside of a data container.

Project Access

If you are a student enrolled in a Computer Science class at Allegheny College, you can access this assignment by clicking the link provided to you in Discord. Once you click this link it will create a GitHub repository that you can clone to your computer by following the general-purpose instructions in the description of the technical skills. Specifically, you will need to use the git clone command to download the project from GitHub to your computer. Now you are ready to add source code and documentation to the project!


If you are an emerging proactive programmer who is not enrolled in a Computer Science class at Allegheny College, you can still work on this assignment! To get started, you should click the "Use this template" button in the containment-checking-starter GitHub repository and create your own version of this project's source code. After creating your GitHub repository, you can follow all of the other steps!

Expected Output

After you finish a correct implementation of all the containmentcheck's features you can run it with the command poetry run containmentcheck --size 32000000 --maximum 50000000 --approach list and see that it produces output like the following. It is worth noting that your invocation of the program will likely produce different results than those provided because of the fact that your laptop may have different software and hardware, and thus different performance characteristics, than the one used to run containmentcheck. With that said, a finished version of containmentcheck should report both the total and average time for use the in operator for the specified data container and searching approach.

โœจ Conducting an experiment to measure the performance of containment checking!
         Type of the data container: list
         Size of the data container: 32000000
         Maximum value for a number in the data container: 50000000
         Should the value to search for exceed the maximum number? No

๐Ÿงฎ Total time for running 10 runs in 3 benchmark campaigns: [0.016107587000078638, 0.016178363999642897, 0.016164254000614164]

๐Ÿงฎ Average time for running 10 runs in 3 benchmark campaigns: [0.0016107587000078639, 0.0016178363999642897, 0.0016164254000614164]

Finally, don't forget that you can display containmentcheck's help menu and learn more about its features by typing poetry run containmentcheck --help to show the following output. It is worth noting that all of the parameters to the containmentcheck program, excepting those connected to completion of command-line arguments or the help menu, are required. This means that the containmentcheck will produce an error if you do not specify the four required parameters that describe the experiment.

โ•ญโ”€ Options โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ”€โ•ฎ
โ”‚ --size                             INTEGER          [default: 5]      โ”‚
โ”‚ --maximum                          INTEGER          [default: 25]     โ”‚
โ”‚ --exceed            --no-exceed                     [default:         โ”‚
โ”‚                                                     no-exceed]        โ”‚
โ”‚ --approach                         [list|set|tuple  [default: list]   โ”‚
โ”‚                                    ]                                  โ”‚
โ”‚ --install-complโ€ฆ                   [bash|zsh|fish|  Install           โ”‚
โ”‚                                    powershell|pwsh  completion for    โ”‚
โ”‚                                    ]                the specified     โ”‚
โ”‚                                                     shell.            โ”‚
โ”‚                                                     [default: None]   โ”‚
โ”‚ --show-completiโ€ฆ                   [bash|zsh|fish|  Show completion   โ”‚
โ”‚                                    powershell|pwsh  for the specified โ”‚
โ”‚                                    ]                shell, to copy it โ”‚
โ”‚                                                     or customize the  โ”‚
โ”‚                                                     installation.     โ”‚
โ”‚                                                     [default: None]   โ”‚
โ”‚ --help                                              Show this message โ”‚
โ”‚                                                     and exit.         โ”‚

Please note that the provided source code does not contain all of the functionality to produce the output displayed in this section. As the next section explains, you should add the features needed to ensure that containmentcheck produces the expected output! After implementing a function that can automatically generate a data container that has random numerical values inside of it, you will need to create each of the containment checking functions for all of the supported data containers (i.e., list, tuple, and set).


Don't forget that if you want to run the containmentcheck you must use your terminal window to first go into the GitHub repository containing this project and then go into the containmentcheck/ directory that contains the project's source code. Finally, remember that before running the program you must run poetry install to add its dependencies, such as Pytest for automated testing and Rich for colorful output!

Adding Functionality

If you study the file containmentcheck/containmentcheck/ you will see that it has many TODO markers that designate the functions you must implement so as to ensure that containmentcheck runs the desired experiment and produces the correct output. Once you complete a task associated with a TODO marker, make sure that you delete it and revise the prompt associated with the marker into a meaningful comment. Specifically, you will need to implement the following Python functions:

  • def generate_random_number(maximum: int, exceed: bool = False) -> int: automatically create a random number starting at zero and going up to the maximum value. When exceed is true the function should generate a number that is greater than the specified maximum value.

  • def generate_random_container(size: int, maximum: int, make_tuple: bool = False) -> Union[List[int], Tuple[int, ...]]: automatically generate a data container that must be either of type List or type Tuple, ensuring that it contains exactly size numbers that are never bigger than the specified maximum.

  • def containment_check_list(thelist: List[int], number: int) -> bool: use the in operator to perform containment checking for the provided list.

  • def containment_check_tuple(thetuple: Tuple[int], number: int) -> bool: use the in operator to perform containment checking for the provided tuple.

  • def containment_check_set(thelist: List[int], number: int) -> bool: after converting the provided list to a set, use the in operator to perform containment checking for the set. This function will allow you to experimentally evaluate the conventional wisdom that a developer can improve the performance of their Python program by converting a list to a set before using the in operator.

Ultimately, you should design your own experiment and state and run experiments to answer your own research questions, focusing on the following key issues:

  • The data container: set, list, and tuple
  • The size of the data container: small values (e.g., 1 million numbers) to big values (e.g., 32 million numbers)
  • Whether or not the value that it being searched for is in the list
  • The maximum value of the numbers that are inside of the data container

Running Checks

If you study the source code in the pyproject.toml file you will see that it includes the following section that specifies different executable tasks like lint. If you are in the containmentcheck directory that contains the pyproject.toml file and the poetry.lock file, the tasks in this section make it easy to run commands like poetry run task lint to automatically run all of the linters designed to check the Python source code in your program and its test suite. You can also use the command poetry run task black to confirm that your source code adheres to the industry-standard format defined by the black tool. If it does not adhere to the standard then you can run the command poetry run task fixformat and it will automatically reformat the source code. You can use these and other built-in tasks to understand and improve your code's quality!

Along with running tasks like poetry run task lint, you can leverage the relevant instructions in the technical skills to run the command gatorgrade --config config/gatorgrade.yml to check your work. If your work meets the baseline requirements and adheres to the best practices that proactive programmers adopt you will see that all the checks pass when you run gatorgrade. You can study the config/gatorgrade.yml file in your repository to learn how the GatorGrade program runs GatorGrader to automatically check your program and technical writing. Please note that this project is not accompanied by any automated test cases! Can you implement some tests to confirm that the containment checks work correctly?


Don't forget that when you commit source code or technical writing to your GitHub repository for this project, it will trigger the run of a GitHub Actions workflow. If you are a student at Allegheny College, then running this workflow consumes build minutes for the course's organization! As such, you should only commit to your repository once you have made substantive changes to your project and you are ready to confirm its correctness. Before you commit to your GitHub repository, you can still run checks on your own computer by using Poetry and GatorGrader.

Project Reflection

Once you have finished both of the previous technical tasks, you can use a text editor to answer all of the questions in the writing/ file. For instance, you should provide the output of the Python program in several fenced code blocks, explain the meaning of the Python source code segments that you implemented, and answer all of the other questions about your experiences in completing this project. A specific goal for this project's reflection is to ensure that you can explain Python source code that uses the timeit package to evaluate the performance of a specific approach to containment checking, as illustrated by the following code segment. Can you explain this source code?

number_runs = 10
number_repeats = 3
execution_times = timeit.Timer(containment_check_lambda).repeat(
    repeat=number_repeats, number=number_runs

Project Assessment

Since this project is an engineering effort, it is aligned with the evaluating and creating levels of Bloom's taxonomy. You can learn more about how a proactive programming expert will assess your work by examining the assessment strategy. From the start to the end of this project you may make an unlimited number of reattempts at submitting source code and technical writing that meet all aspects of the project's specification.

Seeking Assistance

Emerging proactive programmers who have questions about this project are invited to ask them in either the GitHub discussions forum or the Proactive Programmers Discord server. Before you ask your question, please read the advice concerning how to best participate in the Proactive Programmers community. If you find a mistake in this project, please describe it and propose a solution by creating an issue in the GitHub Issue Tracker.

Updated: 2023-04-20   Created: 2021-08-12
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