Lab 10 In-Class: More Classes

In this lab you will develop a class that models a random walk and write two client programs that use the class. A random walk is basically a sequence of steps in some enclosed space where the direction of each step is random. Random walks are used to model physical phenomena such as the motion of molecules and economic phenomena such as stock prices.

We will assume that the random walk takes place on a square grid with the point (0,0) at the center. The boundary of the square will be a single integer that represents the maximum x and y coordinate for the current position on the square (so for a boundary value of 10, both the x and y coordinates can vary from -10 to 10, inclusive). Each step will be one unit up, one unit down, one unit to the left, or one unit to the right. (No diagonal movement.)

The RandomWalk class will have the following instance data (all type int):

Open a file in emacs. You'll define the RandomWalk class incrementally testing each part as you go.
  1. First declare the instance data (as described above) and add the following two constructors and toString method.

  2. Compile what you have so far then open the file This file will be used to test your RandomWalk methods. So far it prompts the user to enter a boundary, a maximum number of steps, and the x and y coordinates of a position. Add the following:

    Compile and run the program to make sure everything is correct so far.

  3. Next add the following method to the RandomWalk class: void takeStep()

    This method simulates taking a single step either up, down, left, or right. To "take a step" generate a random number (see note below) with 4 values (say 0, 1, 2, 3) then use a switch statement to change the position (one random value will represent going right, one left, and so on). Your method should also increment the number of steps taken. Add a for loop to to have each of your RandomWalk objects take 5 steps. Print out each object after each step so you can see what is going on.

    Note on generating random numbers:We have been using the Random class to generate random numbers, but in some ways it's more convenient to use the random() method of the Math class. Math.random() returns a random double value between 0 (inclusive) and 1 (exclusive). Just scale it (multiply by the range you want) and cast to an int and you're ready to go -- nothing to import, no Random object to instantiate. Try it!

  4. Now add to the following two methods. Each should be a single return statement that returns the value of a boolean expression.

  5. Add to the RandomWalk class a method named walk that has no parameters and returns nothing. Its job is to simulate a complete random walk. That is, it should generate a sequence of steps as long the maximum number of steps has not been taken and it is still in bounds (inside the square). This should be a very simple loop (while or do... while) --- you will need to call the methods takeStep, moreSteps, and inBounds.

  6. Compile the class and correct any syntax errors.

  7. Add to a statement to instantiate a RandomWalk object with a boundary of 10 and 200 as the maximum number of steps. (You may want to comment out most of the code currently in TestWalk -- especially the user input and the loop that takes five steps -- as the walk method will be easier to test on its own. The /* ... */ style of comment is useful for this. But don't delete that other code, as you'll need it later in the lab.) Then add a statement to have the object walk. Print the object after the walk. Compile and run the program. Run it more than once -- you should be able to tell by the value printed whether the object went out of bounds or whether it stopped because it reached the maximum number of steps.

  8. Now write a client program in a file named The program should simulate a drunk staggering randomly on some sort of platform (imagine a square dock in the middle of a lake). The goal of the program is to have the program simulate the walk many times (because of randomness each walk is different) and count the number of times the drunk falls off the platform (goes out of bounds). Your program should read in the boundary, the maximum number of steps, and the number of drunks to simulate. It should then have a loop (a for would be a good idea) that on each iteration instantiates a new RandomWalk object to represent a drunk, has the object walk, then determines whether or not the drunk fell off the platform (and updates a counter if it did). After the loop print out the number of times the drunk fell off and the number of times it didn't. Compile and run your program. To see the "randomness" you should run it several times. Try input of 10 for the boundary and 200 for the number of steps first (sometimes the drunk falls off, sometimes not); try 10 for the boundary and 500 for the steps (you should see different behavior); try 50 for the boundary and 200 for the steps (again different behavior).

  9. Now write a second client program in a file named This program should simulate two particles moving in space. Its goal is to determine the number of times the two particles collide (occupy exactly the same position after the same number of steps -- the steps could be thought of as simulating time). We'll assume the particles are in a very large space so use a large number for the boundary (such as 2,000,000). Use 100,000 for the maximum number of steps. (Don't enter the commas.) Start one particle at (-5, 0) and the other at (5, 0). (You can hardcode these values into the program; no need to enter them.) Your program should contain a loop that has each particle take a step as long as the particles have not exceeded the maximum number of steps. The program then determines how often the particles have collided. Note that in order for your program to know whether or not the two different RandomWalk objects are in the same place it needs to be able to find out the position. Hence, you need to add the following two methods to the RandomWalk class.

    Compile and run your program to make sure it works. As before run it several times.

  10. In your program the condition to determine if the points are at the same position is a bit cumbersome. This is something that would be best put in a separate method. Add a static method to (after the main method) with signature
           public static boolean samePosition (RandomWalk p1, RandomWalk p2)
    The method should return true if p1 and p2 are at the same position and return false otherwise. Modify your main method so it calls samePosition rather than directly testing to see if the objects are at the same position. Test the program.

  11. ** EXTRA CREDIT ** In using random walks to simulate behavior it is often of interest to know how far away from the origin the object gets as it moves.

    1. Add an instance variable maxDistance (type int) to the RandomWalk class. This should be set to 0 in each constructor.
    2. Now the takeStep method needs to update this maximum when a step is taken. We'll add a support method to the class to do this. Add a private method named max that takes two integer parameters (say num1 and num2) and returns the largest of the two.
    3. Add code to takeStep to update maxDistance. This can be done in a single statement using the max method -- the new value of maxDistance should be the maximum of 1) the old value of maxDistance, and 2) the current distance to the origin. Note that if the current point is (-3, 15) the distance to the origin is 15; if the current point is (-10, 7) the distance to the origin is 10. Remember that Math.abs returns the absolute value of a number.
    4. Finally add an accessor method to return that distance so a client program can access it.
             public int getMaxDistance()
    5. Test the maximum by adding statements in to get and print the maximum distance for each of the objects after the loop that had them take and print out 5 steps (this way you can see if the maximum is correct -- each step is printed).

    What to Turn In

    Turn in hardcopy of,,, and Tar your lab10 directory and email it to your instructor with cpsc120 lab10 in the subject line.