Autolab is a course management service, initially developed by a team of students at Carnegie Mellon University, that enables instructors to offer autograded programming assignments to their students over the Web. The two key ideas in Autolab are autograding, that is, programs evaluating other programs, and scoreboards.
Autolab also provides other services that instructors expect in a course management system, including gradebooks, rosters, handins/handouts, lab writeups, code annotation, manual grading, late penalties, grace days, cheat checking, meetings, partners, and bulk emails.
Since 2010, Autolab has had a transformative impact on education at CMU. Each semester, it is used by about 5,000 CMU students in courses in Pittsburgh, Silicon Valley, Qatar, and Rwanda. In Fall, 2014, we are releasing Autolab as an open-source system, where it will be available to schools all over the world, and hopefully have the same impact it's had at CMU.
We released new documentation! Check it out here.
We are currently in the process of updating our documentation to work with our newest release of Autolab, v2.5.0, which has been upgraded to Rails 5 from Rails 4
Setting up Tests
Add a test database in
Create and migrate the database.
RAILS_ENV=test bundle exec rake db:create RAILS_ENV=test bundle exec rake db:migrate
Do not forget to use
RAILS_ENV=test bundle execin front of every rake/rails command.
Create necessary directories.
mkdir attachments/ tmp/
After setting up the test environment, simply run spec by:
bundle exec rake spec
Rails 4 Support
Autolab is now running on Rails 5. However, we may still work on important bug fixes on the Rails 4 branch,
partially because the deployment on CMU is currently still on Rails 4. Please file an issue
if you believe that you have found a severe bug. The Rails 4 branch
can be found on
We will not be backporting new features from
Autolab is released under the Apache License 2.0.
Please feel free to use Autolab at your school/organization. If you run into any problems, you can reach the core developers at
firstname.lastname@example.org and we would be happy to help. On a case by case basis, we also provide servers for free. (Especially if you are an NGO or small high-school classroom)
v2.5.0 (2020/02/22) Upgrade from Rails 4 Rails 5
- Autolab has been upgraded from Rails 4 to Rails 5 after almost a year of effort! There are still some small bugs to be fixed, but it should not affect the core functionality of Autolab. Please file an issue if you believe you have found a bug.
v2.4.0 (2020/02/08) Speedgrader - The new code viewer
- The File Tree shows file hierarchy of student’s submission
- Click on a file to open
- Click on a folder to expand
- The Symbol Tree allows you to jump quickly to functions in the student’s code
- Click on a function to jump
- You can easily switch between submissions and files
- Up/down arrow keys change file
- Right/left arrow keys change submission
- How to use new annotation system:
- Make annotations with grade adjustments
- Important: annotations can only be made for non-autograded problems (to preserve the original autograded score of the autograded problem)
- Annotations grade changes summarized by the Annotations table on the right
- New: Score for problem automatically updates after annotation score changes based on the following formula (this no longer has to be done manually on the Gradebook):
score = max_score + ∑(annotation score changes)
- For example, a way to grade style in a deductive manner would be to set the max score for the Style problem, and make annotations with negative score for style violations and zero score for good style
- Tables are more standardized
- Fixed text overflowing issues on Gradebook modals
- Improved standardization and UI for annotations on PDF submissions
- Course assistants are now able to submit assignments early