CS 150 - Prelab 1

Due: Wednesday 2/15 at the beginning of lab

This is a short assignment to make sure everything is setup for our first lab. It shouldn't take too long, but it may require you to come in to the lab in MBH 505, where class is held.

1. Getting your environment setup

First, please bookmark the course web page in your browser at:


Next, get ready for your first assignment. You have two options for working on your assignments for this class. You can work on your own laptop or you can work on the lab computers in MBH 505. For this assignment, you'll need to decide which you'd like to do, though you can change down the road. Follow the instructions below for whichever you choose.

For laptop users

First, install Python and Spyder. Instructions can be found on the course web page. If you have problems and/or would like additional help, our ASI, Ruben Gilbert, has office hours in MBH 505 on Monday afternoon (see web page).

For lab computer users

You'll need to go into the lab to finish this prelab. If you are registered for the class, you should have an account on the computer science machines. This account uses the same username and password as your general Middlebury account, however, it is a separate account. Files that you store on these computers will not be accessible when not in the lab and vice versa. See the course web page or come talk to me if you ever want to transfer files in between the two (though e-mailing them to yourself is also an easy solution).

Login to one of the lab computers, then do the following:

2. Configure Spyder

If you use a Mac (either your laptop or the lab computers), you can create a shortcut for Spyder on the "Dock" at the bottom of the screen.

To add an application to the Dock, all we need to do is find it and then drag it over the Dock where we want it. The easiest way to do this is to search for the application we want. Click the magnifying glass at the top right corner (or type command + space_bar) and type "Spyder". Click and drag the Spyder app into your Dock at the bottom of the screen to add it.

PC users can type "Spyder" in the run menu, then right-click on the Spyder application, and select "Pin to Taskbar".

You can now click on the logo in the Dock / Taskbar -- it looks like a spider web -- and it starts the Spyder IDE (what does IDE stand for?). Go ahead and do this.

When you start Spyder, the screen will be divided into 3 regions:

At this point, we have Spyder set up the way we want it, so it's a good idea to save the "current layout". From the main menu, select View -> Custom window layouts -> Set layout 1, which stores the current configuration of windows and tabs. (To be extra safe, you can store the current configuration as layouts 2 and 3 as well.) Now, if the layout ever gets messed up (e.g., if you close one of the tabs or undock one of the windows), you can restore it via View -> Custom window layouts -> Switch to/from layout 1.

You are now ready for the lab on Friday!

3. Administrative issues

Read the course information handout posted on the course web page about class policies.

4. When you're done

When you're all done, take a piece of paper and write your name, class number (including section), date and prelab number at the top of the paper. Answer the following questions on this paper and bring it to class on Friday.
  1. What does IDE stand for?
  2. What is the class policy on late work?

5. Optional: Read through the assignment 1 handout online