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Lab 1 - Getting Started

The goal of this lab is to install the software we will be using in this course.

Install Miniconda3

Miniconda is a Python package manager.

It helps us install python and the various packages we will use in the course.

It also comes with a terminal we can use to run python.

Download Miniconda here:

Windows Users

You probably want the 64-bit installer (unless your computer is older than you are…)

Mac Users

In Fall 2021, Apple started building laptops with M1 processors instead of Intel processors.

You can determine which kind of processor you have by clicking the Apple icon at the top left of your screen, then “About This Mac”

  • If the chip section says “Apple M1” in it, you have an M1 processor
  • If it doesn’t, you have an Intel (x86) processor

Select the pkg installer that corresponds to your processor.

Miniconda Installation

The miniconda installer will ask you some questions. You can accept all the default settings.

Install PyCharm


As a BYU student, you can get a FREE educational license from JetBrains in order to use the professional version of their products.

Or, you can install the Community Edition.

Either edition (professional or community) will work fine for this class.

If you plan to take other CS classes in the future, you will likely use other JetBrains editors (e.g. CLion, WebStorm, IntelliJ), taking a few minutes now to set up the educational license may be worth the minor effort.

Activity: Use the terminal

Windows Users: Use the "Anaconda Power Shell (PS) Terminal"

Note: you will also find an “Anaconda Prompt”. That’s not the one you want. You will also see a “Power Shell”. That’s not the one you want. Look for the one with both “Anaconda” and “Power Shell” in the name.

Mac Users: Use the built-in Terminal app

Open your terminal. Type:

cd ~/Documents


mkdir CS110

this will create a CS110 folder in your Documents folder. You can see it in your file browser if you are curious.

We recommend that you put all of your CS110 lab and project files in this folder.

You can use a different folder if you want, but this is at least a sensible way to do it if you don’t have an alternative you feel strongly about.

Activity: TA Help Queue

To get help from a TA outside of your lab section, you can either go to the CS 110 TA Lab in the Talmage building (room 1121) or meet with a TA virtually (e.g. over Zoom).

In either venue, you will first check in on the TA Help Queue. This ensures that those who have been waiting longer are served first.

CS 110 TA Help Queue

Take a moment now to visit the TA Help Queue and submit a request. State that your are doing the Lab 1 Help Queue activity. If you are currently in your lab section, include your section number (or room and time) so the section leader TA can check in with you.

Activity: Sign on to Slack

We will be using the chat platform Slack for our class.

Slack is essentially a glorified message system. Not as formal or bloated as email; a little more formal and organized than text messages.

You will use Slack to chat with classmates and TAs about lab assignments and projects.

At the start of the semester, you should have received an email with an invitation to join Slack. If you haven’t already, please sign up and join the CS 110 workspace. If you didn’t receive the invite email, please ask a TA to send it to you.

Once you have joined, go to the Unit 0 channel and post your response to one of the questions below.


Discuss the following with the members of your team:

  • What is an operating system? What does it do?
  • What is the file system? What is the difference between a “folder” and a “file”?
  • What is a file system path? What is the full path to your CS110 folder?
  • Why is it a good idea to avoid spaces in the names of files or folders?
  • What is the terminal?
  • What is “tab completion” and why is it helpful?
  • What is a code editor?


Install Miniconda6
Install PyCharm6
Practice using the Terminal6
Use the TA Help Queue6
Join the CS 110 Slack workspace6