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CS156Spring 2004Sec1Home Page/Syllabus

Introduction to Artificial Intelligence

Instructor: Chris Pollett
Office: MH 214
Phone Number: (408) 924 5145
Office Hours:MWF 2:20-4:00pm
Class Meets:
Sec1 MW 1:30pm-2:20pm in MH223


To take this class you must have taken: CS146 and CS151 with a grade of C- or better.

Texts and Links

Required Texts: Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach. 2nd Ed.. by Stuart Russell and Peter Norvig.
Online References & Other Links: Dr. Scheme.
How to Design Programs (on-line book useful for learning Scheme).
XSB Prolog.


This course will survey the major areas of AI. The course will begin with problem solving algorithms. In particular, search space exploration strategies such as iterative deepening, A*, and several local search algorithms will be considered. Techniques to solve constraint satisfaction problems will then be discussed. This will be followed by a description of the minimax algorithm and alpha-beta pruning which is used in games such as chess. The focus will then shift to representation schemes for knowlege, logical reasoning and theorem proving techniques. Then task planning algorithms will be considered. Finally, the semester will conclude with an introduction to statistical learning algorithms and AI related to information retrieval. Throughout the course an attempt will be made to give examples of how to use the algorithms in real world situations such as video games, expert systems, and web applications.

Below is a tentative time table for when we'll do things this quarter:

Week 1: Jan 30 Read 3.1 and 3.2
Week 2: Feb 2, Feb 4, Feb 6 Finish Ch3
Week 3: Feb 9, Feb 11, Feb 13 Read Ch4
Week 4: Feb 16, Feb 18, Feb 20 Read Ch6
Week 5: Feb 23, Feb 25, Feb 27 Read Ch7
Week 6: Mar 1, Mar 3, Mar 5 Read 8.1 and 8.2
Week 7: Mar 8, Mar 10, Mar 12 Finish Ch 8
Week 8: Mar 15, Mar 17, Mar 19 Read Ch9
Week 9: Mar 22, Mar 24, Mar 26 Read Ch10
Week 10: Mar 29 (Break), Mar 31 (Break), Apr 2 (Break)
Week 11: Apr 5, Apr 7, Apr 9 Read Ch11
Week 12: Apr 12, Apr 14, Apr 16 Read Ch12
Week 13: Apr 19, Apr 21, Apr 23 Read 13.1 and 13.2
Week 14: Apr 26, Apr 28, Apr 30 Finish Ch13
Week 15: May 3, May 5, May 7 Read Ch20
Week 16: May 10, May 12, May 14 Read Ch23
Week 17: May 17 Review
The final will be May 21, 12:15-2:30pm.


Homeworks 45%
Midterm 1 15%
Midterm 2 15%
Final 25%

Grades in this class will be curved and since it is an upper division class I will try to be reasonably lenient. The person or persons with the highest aggregate score will receive an A+. I view a score of less than 50% as not having attained competence in the material covered and such people will receive an F.

If you do better than an A- in this class and want me to write you a letter of recommendation, I will generally be willing provided you ask me within two years of taking my course. Be advised that I write better letters if I know you to some degree.

Homework Info

There will be four mini-project type homeworks for this course. For each project you will be required to implement algorithms from the current collection of topics we are considering. Implementing the algorithms listed in the spec part of the project will be worth 4pts (out of 15pts) for that project. Each program will then be entered into a competition to determine the remainder of the grade. Having a program that works sufficiently well to compete is worth another 3pts. Programs will be ranked according to how they do in the competition. The best performing program receives 7pts. The lowest ranked program receives 1pt and the remaining program scores will be linearly interpolated between these values. Thus, an average program would receive 3.5pts. The last point of any programming assignment has to do with coding guidelines and will be discussed shortly.

In addition, to the programming portion of a project, a list of suggested book exercises will be given with each homework description. These do not need to be turned in and do not count toward your grade. Nevertheless, these problems or slight variations thereof might appears on midterms or finals. Links to the current list of assignments can be found on the left hand frame of the class homepage. After an assignment has been returned a link to its solution will be placed off the assignment page. Material from assignments may appear on midterms and finals. Homeworks for this class will be submitted and returned completely electronically. The written and programming parts of an assignment are submitted by clicking on the submit homework link for your section on the left hand side of the homepage and filling out the on-line form. Hardcopies or e-mail versions of your assignments will be rejected and not receive credit. Homeworks will always be due by the start of class on the day their due. Late homeworks will not be accepted; however, your low homework score will be dropped.

When doing the programming part of an assignment please make sure to adhere to the specification given as closely as possible. Names of files should be as given, etc. Failure to follow the specification may result in your homework not being graded and you receiving a zero for your work. In addition, you should make sure your code conforms with the Scheme Coding Guidelines. This will be worth one point on every assignment.


The midterms will be during class time on: Mar 5 and Apr 23.

The final will be: May 21, 12:15-2:30pm..

All exams are closed book, closed notes and in this classroom. You will be allowed only the test and your pen or pencil on your desk during these exams. Beeper or cell-phone interruptions will result in immediate excusal from the test. The final will cover material from the whole quarter although there will be an emphasis on material after the last midterm. No make ups will be given. The final exam may be scaled to replace a midterm grade if it was missed under provably legitimate circumstances. These exams will test whether or not you have mastered the material both presented in class or assigned as homework during the quarter. My exams usually consist of a series of essay style questions. I try to avoid making tricky problems. The week before each exam I will give out a list of problems representative of the level of difficulty of problems the student will be expected to answer on the exam. Any disputes concerning grades on exams should be directed to me, Professor Pollett.


If you believe an error was made in the grading of your program or exam, you may request in person a regrade from me, Professor Pollett, during my office hours. I do not accept e-mail requests for regrades. A request for a regrade must be made no more than a week after the homework or a midterm is returned. If you cannot find me before the end of the semester and you would like to request a regrade of your final, you may see me in person at the start of the immediately following semester.

Academic Honesty

Plagiarism on homework or cheating on tests will result in appropriate academic disciplinary action being taken. Information on the university policy governing academic dishonesty can be found at (Sections 41301-4).