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Installing Pycharm and Python

Here are instructions for installing PyCharm and Python 3 (These are from Fall 2022, versions may be slightly different). Pycharm is the environment you will use to write programs, and Python 3 is the programming language.

Having trouble installing?

  • You can also go to INSTALL FEST! Get help installing Python on your computer at the Co-lab in the TEC building. This is not office hours, this is only software/install help you can get by dropping in during the following days and times (no appointment needed):
    • 8/31 from 1-6pm
    • 9/1 from 11:30 – 4pm
    • 9/5 from 9-4pm
  • Alternatively, you can also get help by going to consulting hours

Virtual Machine

If your computer breaks, you can always login to a Virtual Machine (VM) that OIT has setup for you to access Pycharm.

Click here for instructions to use the VM.

Old Tests

In Fall 2012, CompSci 6 was renumbered to CompSci 101.

Since 1994 CompSci 6 was taught in C++, then Java and then Python starting in Fall 2010.

Old tests in Python from Fall 2010 on.

Python Reference Sheets

Fall 2023

Spring 2023

You will be given similar reference sheets to use during your exams.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of computer do I need for this course?

This is a programming course so you will definitely need a computer. Recommend a laptop, any type will do, Mac or Windows machine. It will be handy to bring it to class and lab as we do programming in both. A desktop will also work, but you can’t bring it to class, though you should be able to do all your programming on it other than lecture and lab. If you don’t have a laptop in lab and lecture you can work with someone who does. Note that you need a device that you can install Pycharm on. An ipad or simple tablet will not work. Surface Pro works, but it is a smaller screen for development. If you plan to be a CS major, you might want a bigger screen, thus a laptop. If you are not sure if a device is appropriate, ask if you can install Pycharm on it.

How do I get the book for this course, and how much does it cost?

The book is a free online textbook. Please give a $10 donation. The code for the book will be on the Sakai site for the course under announcements, or the course website main page.

Is this the right Computer Science course for me?

Extra Stuff

The stuff below here is just extra, not needed for the class, but fun to explore.

Sources of extra Python practice

JSON References

Other Duke Computing Resources

Internet Resources

HTML Tutorials


Microsoft knows that reliable software is not cost effective. According to studies, 90% to 95% of all bugs are harmless. They’re never discovered by users, and they don’t affect performance. It’s much cheaper to release buggy software and fix the 5% to 10% of bugs people find and complain about.
– Bruce Schneier