A number of labs are available, none of which are designated for any particular class or year-group:

At present, there are no scheduled, booked activities in the labs. The capacity of the labs is much reduced due to restrictions on physical distancing and face coverings must be worn at all times in the labs. You must familiarise yourself with the School and University health & safety guidance before physically accessing any of our buildings and labs.

In the current climate, you may prefer to complete your coursework using your own machine while working from the comfort of your own residence, by accessing the School labs remotely via SSH. Files stored in the correct place on the host machines will be automatically backed up. More information on this on the Systems Wiki. Information on accessing the labs remotely can be found on the Systems Wiki in the sections on Working Remotely along with some useful Video Tutorials.

Demonstrator Support

Demonstrator support for sub-Honours modules is provided on certain weekday afternoons: see details.

Priorities and Behaviour

The principal uses of the labs are practical work and lectures. Labs may also be used for other purposes, with priority given as follows, in descending order:

  • students attending scheduled lectures or exercise classes
  • students working on School of Computer Science modules
  • staff or other students doing other academic work
  • non-academic activities

At all times, a relaxed and informal atmosphere is encouraged, so long as it remains conducive to work. Music should not be played in the labs (headphones are fine), and loud conversations should be taken elsewhere to avoid disturbing those working. The Quiet Lab should be used in the same way as the library study areas, i.e. making no significant noise.

Students are encouraged to make use of lab facilities and other School services for personal computing-related projects, but priority is always given to those engaged in academic work.

Conditions of Use

Students are bound by the Policies and Conditions of Use of University ICT facilities. It is the responsibility of students to familiarise themselves with these conditions of use.

The software available on lab computer systems is copyrighted, and is available to students for their own use only, on the machines allocated for their work. Except where explicitly permitted, students are forbidden to:

  • make copies of any software or documentation provided for use in laboratories
  • download copyrighted materials such as, but not limited to, images, music, films and books

Room Availability

If you are searching for room availability (e.g. for running a meeting or experiment) you can access the Web Timetables (including rooms such 0.30, 1.33a etc.) at http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/webtt/

Do I need my own personal computer

Under normal circumstances we usually advise that students do not need their own computer. However, the ongoing global pandemic has changed the situation significantly. The School provides all the compute facilities required for completing our degree programmes, but it is important that students can access those services and have the ability to work locally on their own computer should the need arise.

We advise that students have a personal computer (laptop or desktop) that supports programming locally in a number of languages, such as Java, Python and C. We recommend a system with a minimum of a dual-core CPU, 4GB of memory and a 128 GB SSD running Windows 10 (Home or Pro), macOS or Linux.

The School’s primary teaching platform is Linux but it is not necessary for students to run this as a daily-use operating system on their personal computer. Most of our students have personal computers running either Windows 10 or macOS.

Note that this minimum recommended specification is tailored to support programming locally and for accessing the School’s services remotely for situations where you do not have access to the Schools laboratory facilities. The suggested minimum specification does not cover all the requirements of our degree programme. In many cases it will be necessary to use the School’s systems, possibly accessing them remotely, to run computations and to develop and host services.

There is benefit in a personal computer that is above our minimum recommended specification. For instance, a system with a quad-core-CPU, 8GB of memory and a 250GB SSD may have a longer useful lifetime and will be more suited to running a virtual machine and running more applications in parallel. This can be helpful for project work or developing more complex applications locally.

Many computer brands, such as Lenovo, Dell, Microsoft and Apple offer educational discounts, but we do not endorse any particular brand. The PC and laptop market offers a huge range of choice and the best value will depend on your individual requirements and budget. Often refurbished enterprise equipment can represent good value. In many countries there are multiple equipment recycling companies selling refurbished enterprise equipment through their own web store and platforms such as eBay and Amazon.

Note that iPads, ChromeBooks, and Android devices impose restrictions on the software that can be run and are typically not suitable for programming locally.

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Last Published: 25 Sep 2020.