Getting started at EPITA
This guide will tell you what you need to know when starting at EPITA.
THIS IS NOT AN OFFICIAL GUIDE, but it should have a lot of information you may find useful.
Here is an overview of some of the terms used at EPITA which you may not be familiar with.
In EPITA (and most French schools), students are identified by their “promo” year, meaning the year in which they should finish their school cursus. If you begin EPITA in Prépa in 2018, then your promo is 2023, because you will finish EPITA after 5 years of work in 2023.
A full cursus at EPITA lasts 5 years, cut like this:
- Year 1: SUP
- Semester 1 (S1)
- Semester 2 (S2)
- Year 2: SPE
- Semester 3 (S3)
- Semester 4 (S4): usually spent abroad or in Villejuif (called S4VJ)
- Year 1: SUP
- ING: Engineering cycle (“Cycle ingénieur”)
- Year 3: ING1
- Semester 5 (S5)
- Semester 6 (S6)
- Year 4: ING2
- Semester 7 (S7): usually an internship
- Semester 8 (S8): first Majeure semester
- Year 5: ING3
- Semester 9 (S9): second Majeure semester
- Semester 10 (S10): final internship
- Year 3: ING1
Villejuif? VJ? Kremlin-Bicêtre? KB?
There are two campuses in Paris for EPITA:
- Villejuif (aka VJ): For Prépa students, shared with the Sup Biotech school. ING students also go there for exams when there are not enough computers in KB. There are two buildings at VJ: VA (an actual building) and VB (premade building blocks, called “préfabriqués”). Another building is being built.
- Kremlin-Bicêtre (aka KB): For ING students and for conferences for Prépa students. Shared with a lot of other schools from the Ionis group.
You need your student card to enter the campuses.
Logins & passwords
At EPITA, students are identified by their “login”, which is just
firstname.lastname. This has been in place since the 2021 promo: before then,
the format was
x is the first letter of the person’s first
Your EPITA e-mail address is your login with
[email protected]). You MUST check it regularly as vital information
is sent there!
There are two credentials system used at EPITA:
- Bocal/Office 365: Managed by the Bocal (one of the infrastructures team at EPITA), this is what you use to log in to your email account and Office 365. You should receive the password via a text message before the first day. This is what you use to connect to all Microsoft login pages.
- CRI: Managed by the CRI, this is what you use to log in to the school’s computers, to the CRI’s Intranet, and to the Programming intranets. You will define this password yourself: an e-mail will give you the exact procedure.
Discord servers maintained by EPITA students are accessible to all EPITA students (but are not accessible to non-students). You can go there to get help and a lot of information in general. These servers are managed by the EpiLogin students club, and you will have to follow a (simple) login procedure to ensure that you are a student from EPITA.
To access them, use the following links:
- Promo servers: You should join your own promo’s discord server:
epita.cf/promo, replace promo by your own promo (e.g. 2024). You can also join other promos’ servers, but you may get restricted access to the channels to avoid information leaking from older promos to newer ones.
- International (fourth semester) server:
epita.cf/international. This server contains information and discussion channels related to international destinations: go there to get more info on where you can go and get feedback from students who have already been there.
Other servers also exist, but will not be listed here as they are more for student clubs.
The computers at EPITA run on Arch Linux, with i3 as the desktop environment. XFCE is also available but will not be covered in class. At boot time, you get a choice between various sessions. Choose EPITA SUP if you need tools for working with C# and OCaml, or EPITA otherwise.
Your username is your login. Your password is the CRI password.
IMPORTANT: THE COMPUTERS DO NOT HAVE HARD DRIVES1, ONLY RAM. ANYTHING
THAT IS OUTSIDE OF YOUR
AFS FOLDER WILL BE DELETED PERMANENTLY WHEN THE
COMPUTER GETS SHUT DOWN. ALWAYS STORE EVERYTHING ON YOUR AFS.
More details about the AFS available on the CRI’s documentation website.
You should get the following resources for free, as they are essential for your work at EPITA:
- Microsoft Office: Use your Office 365 (aka Bocal) account to connect to office.com. From there, you will be able to download the desktop Microsoft Office apps.
- JetBrains IDEs: You will use Rider and IntelliJ IDEA at EPITA, two Integrated Developer Environments (basically just very fancy text editors) from a company called JetBrains. While IntelliJ IDEA has a very popular free version available, Rider is not available for free. You can get all of these for free as part of JetBrains’ student plan. More details here: use your EPITA email address to claim your rewards.
The following programming languages are taught at EPITA (accurate as of 2019):
- In SUP: OCaml (S1 only), C#, Python (only in Algorithmics classes)
- In SPE: C, Rust (S4VJ only), Python (only in Algorithmics classes)
- In ING1: C, C++, Python, Java, maybe others
The languages learnt in ING2/ING3 depend on your Majeure.
Since the 2023 promo, Git is used in SUP, SPE, and ING1. It is software that basically allows you to manage your code in a nice, organized way. It is sort of like iCloud, Mega or Google Drive, but instead of sending every file change you make, you manage “packets of changes” (called commits). This way of managing code leads to many benefits, and there are lots of great ways to use this system. While you only need to know three of four commands for submitting your work at EPITA, you should definitely spend some time learning Git. If you are allergic to the command line, there are also very good graphical apps out there, like Fork (my personal favorite) or GitKraken (also very good but requires a paid subscription for private repositories).
Here is a simple introduction to Git for more information. Also available in French.
EPITA uses something called “SSH keys” to ensure that only you can modify your own repositories. A guide is available here.
There are several essential websites at EPITA that you will need to visit. The following will give a broad description for each one of them but does not intend to be an exhaustive list. To get a nicer portal with all of the links here, check out epita.it.
- Chronos: This is where you are able to check
your timetables. Use the search box in the top left corner to enter your class
name (for example,
- IonisX: This is where you can find the MiMos, which replace lectures at EPITA.
- CRI Intranet: This is where you can find a database of all of the students at EPITA with their login and faces, manage your SSH keys (used for authentification with Git), as well as get more fancy features related to computers at EPITA.
- CRI Documentation: Official documentation at EPITA regarding the computers and other things. You should definitely have a look at it!
- EPITA.net: Website for everything related to internships, work contracts, etc. that you have to do while at EPITA.
- Intracom: Website for everything related to Communications tasks (e.g. forums, events…)
- Odyssée: Website for international semesters (fourth and ninth semesters). This is where you will upload most of your legal documents and get information on each destination.
These websites are only useful for Prépa students (first to fourth semester)
- Pegasus (Prépa): Portal where you can check your grades and download administrative documents
- Algo TD: Algorithmics homework and class resources for playing around with OCaml and Python are stored here. Website authored by Nathalie Bouquet.
- Rosetta Stone: Learning portal for foreign languages if you are not learning Japan nor Korean.
- ACDC Intranet: Programming portal (subjects, submission documentation) for SUP students (S1 and S2).
- Assistants (ACU/YAKA) intranet: Intranet related to ING1 programming
EPITA’s students also create their own resources. As these are not official, they may be less reliable than official sources. Here is a list of the essentials:
- epita.it: A portal of useful links from which you can access everything you need at EPITA. If you need to remember one address, remember this one.
- iChronos: A better interface for Chronos. You should provide your whole class ID, which you can find in Chronos by looking at the left side bar once you are seeing your group’s timetable.
- Epidocs Past Exams: Open source repository of past subjects for Prépa students, from the Epidocs collection of projects. M a n y other repositories of past subjects exist, but this is the cleanest and most complete one yet. Feel free to participate!
- Epimap: A map of Villejuif and Kremlin-Bicêtre campuses. Useful if you get lost.
- Epiquote: The most Epic Quotes™ seen at EPITA.
Shameless plug: I also maintain a documentation website with a few useful resources and articles (you’re reading one of the articles right now!): kb.zoroark.guru
Some computers actually do have a hard drive, but it is only used for caching the Linux distribution (so you don’t have to re-download it everytime you turn the computer on) and running Windows. ↩