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Home Assignments Lecture Blog Resources Project Discussion Group

Introduction to Python, Bottlenose Auto-Grader, and the Syllabus

Short version

You will be making edits to four files:

You must use Python 2.7.x. Do not make changes to any other files. You are also responsible for everything discussed at Python Intro. Download the starter code (and upload answers) here:

Long version

Course assignments are done in Python, so it is necessary for you to learn Python.

Fortunately, this first assignment will help you do this. In addition to this assignment, you should review the material at Python Intro.

This assignment also introduces you to the UMass Lowell Computer Science department's “Bottlenose” auto-grader.

To begin, please read through the Python tutorial at

Make sure your computer is running Python 2.7.x. (Type python --version at the shell. If you don't see a variant of 2.7—most likely, 2.7.12—Google for how to install version 2.7 on your platform.)

Then complete the Question 1 through Question 3 by modifying the starter code. You will also complete Question 4 by reading the prompts in the file and answering them in code.

Do not get the starter code from Berkeley. We have our own version that you must use.

How to get the code

  1. Find the Bottlenose login link you were sent, and click on it. This will log you in to Bottlenose.
  2. Go here:
  3. Download the assignment files.
    Notice that it is a gzipped Unix tar archive, so you must have the Unix tar utility to unarchive (and also to re-archive when you wish to submit files.)

    Your task is to edit the files, tar and gzip them up again, and upload.

    If you are on Windows, download and install 7-zip which will allow you to extract and create Unix-format gzip archives.

    If you are working from Unix, you may unpack the archive with the command

    tar xzvf ps0-assignment.tgz
  4. After you unpack the tar file, you will have a bunch of files in a directory named "ps0".
    Edit those files in place in that directory. Do not rename the directory.
  5. When your code successfully passes the local tests (type python, you are ready to submit.
  6. Note: q4 on is not autograded locally. You must submit to Bottlenose to see results. Don't worry if you get anything wrong on the first try; you can submit as often as you like without penalty until the assignment due date. Only the last submission counts.

Submit the code

To submit, navigate to the directory that contains the ps0 directory. Not the ps0 directory itself—the one above it.

Then type the following Unix command:

tar czvf myfile.tgz ps0

This will create a gzipped archive named myfile.tgz which has the directory ps0 and all the files within ps0.

Then, submit myfile.tgz. (You may name this file anything you like, but provide the .tgz suffix. It may also be named .tar.gz.)

It's not working!

Most common failures are:

  • You didn't use Unix format tar archive followed by Unix gzip compression protocol. If you did not use the Unix command, make sure you are using the 7-zip utility. It is a two-step process to first make a tar archive and then gzip compress it.
  • You didn't archive the ps0 directory. The thing in your archive must be a directory named ps0 at top level. Then inside that directory must be all your submission files.
  • You renamed the ps0 directory. Don't do that. The autograder is looking for a directory named ps0.

Grading rubric

You must figure out how to get Bottlenose to accept your submission in order to receive credit.

Please note that for each question, you must answer all tests correctly to receive the points for that question.

The score that Bottlenose gives you is your score.

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Page last modified on September 05, 2016, at 12:23 PM