Computing Policies

by Mike Gleicher on August 30, 2014

This class has been assigned to the Windows laboratories on the first floor of Computer Sciences (e.g. rooms 1358, 1366 etc). These labs are shared with other classes.

You are free to work on other machines (such as your home computer or laptop) subject to the following caveats:

  1. For projects, your code must build and run on the CSL Windows machines. As far as we are concerned, if it doesn’t compile on the machines in the lab, it doesn’t run.
  2. Working in the lab can be a good collaborative experience, and we encourage this kind of collaboration.
  3. We cannot be responsible for supporting your machine. Also, if your machine isn’t capable of doing what is necessary (e.g. has appropriate graphics capabilities), we cannot help you.

The C++ development environment provided on the CSL Windows machines is Microsoft Visual Studio 2013. As a student, you can obtain this for your personal machine from Microsoft DreamSpark (as the TA for help if you need it). Your C++ programs must run under this environment.

Non-Programming Assignments

For some of the “non-programming” assignments you will be asked to produce files that can be viewed using a web browser (e.g. SVG files). In some cases, you are requested to create these files by hand (e.g. using a text editor – not using a graphics editor like InkScape or Illustrator). You may use whatever text editor you like (we will ask you), including one that provides specific support for the languages.

In some cases, you will be asked to write program pieces (like shaders) and use a web service to see what they look like.

For assignments, there will be explicit instructions as to what to turn in. All handins will be done via Moodle.

Programming Assignments

For some assignments, we will ask you write a program that produces a text file or an image. Note for these assignments what we will really be checking is that you produce the correct text file. We will ask you to turn in (and will look at) your program, but we do not need to be able to run it.

For programming assignments, you can do the programming in a language of your choice. We encourage you to use C++ (to get practice for the projects), but if you’re confident with C++, you might choose something else more convenient.

Please be clear on what we would need to do if we wanted to run your program. For example, tell us what environment you ran the program in, if you need any external libraries installed, etc. Be clear what files we should look at: if your program is more than 1 file, have something explaining what’s what.

Also, we won’t be able to help you with programming things if you use something that is familiar and available to us.


The projects are a bit different than the assignments:

  1. They will involve framework code, written in C++. This means your project will need to use C++ (or you will have to spend energy re-creating it in another language).
  2. We will need to be able to run your project. That means it must run in the lab (or a computer equivalent in our offices). So those “it must run on Windows and built using VS2013” rules above really apply.
  3. It’s likely to be bigger – so you will need to make sure you turn in all of the pieces we need to build it.

We will provide specific instructions on how to turn things in as part of the project.

Again, if you choose to develop your software using another compiler (or on a different machine), you still need to be able to compile your code in the storm labs. We cannot provide any help to you if you choose to use other tools.

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