CSCI 561: Foundations of
"Artificial Intelligence" teaches artificial intelligence from
an intelligent systems perspective. That is, you will learn about methods
(tools) that allow you to build systems that can interact intelligently with
their environment, including those that plan, learn, and reason about the
world. You will also learn to read scientific texts about topics from
artificial intelligence, use methods and systems from artificial intelligence
to solve problems, and program them.
You should know a bit about algorithms and data structures since you will have to be able to read pseudo code and understand algorithms from artificial intelligence. You should also know something about probabilities, although we will refresh your memory in class.
Finally, you should know how to program. We provide you with tutorials for the needed languages as much as you need. The most important prerequisite of all, however, is your interest in the course, motivation, and commitment to learning. If you are not sure whether this class is for you, please talk to us.
The textbook for the course is Artificial Intelligence - A Modern Approach by Russell and Norvig (Prentice Hall). It is important that you read the second edition rather than the first one. We will follow the textbook reasonably closely but will not cover all of the chapters and, from time to time, cover topics not contained in the book.
Lectures and Sessions
The lecture slides will be made available on the class website. The lectures are meant to summarize the readings and stress the important points. Thus, it will be extremely helpful for you if you do the readings, ideally before class. If you miss a class, it is your responsibility to find out what we talked about, including the announcements we made in class.
If there is something that you don't understand, please feel free to ask questions. If you have a question the odds are that others do as well. Your active participation in class is crucial in making the course successful. Please also use your colleagues as a resource (they are working towards the same goal as you are), for example, by forming study groups or posting questions on the discussion forum. If you need additional help, please come by during our office hours and talk to us. We are there to help you. If lots of students are confused, the TAs will give help sessions with additional examples. So, please let us know if you get confused!
There will be one midterm and one final. The midterm will be in class, and the final on the last day of classes. No makeup will be given. You won't need calculators.
Projects & Homeworks
There will be three/four graded projects. We will not accept late projects and you will get zero credit for them. The only exceptions are late solutions that are accompanied with a NOTE from a doctor (or a similar note that verifies the problem). WE MUST TOLD ABOUT THE ISSUE IMMEDIATELY WHEN IT ARISES (not: when you realized that it would affect your performance!).
The projects are individual projects (unless otherwise stated). All solutions have to be the work of only the people listed on it. Do not copy from others or let others copy your work. In particular, you have to cite all of the resources you relied on for coming up with your answers. This includes web pages, publications, people, and so on, other than the textbook, instructor, and teaching assistants.
All students are responsible for reading and following the Student Conduct Code. Note that the USC Student Conduct Code prohibits plagiarism. Some examples of what is not allowed by the conduct code: copying all or part of someone else's work (by hand or by looking at others' files, either secretly or if shown), and submitting it as your own; giving another student in the class a copy of your assignment solution; and consulting with another student during an exam. If you have questions about what is allowed, please discuss it with the instructor.
Students who violate university standards of academic integrity are subject to disciplinary sanctions, including failure in the course and suspension from the university. Since dishonesty in any form harms the individual, other students, and the university, policies on academic integrity will be strictly enforced. Violations of the Student Conduct Code will be filed with the Office of Student Conduct.
There are weekly quizzes that you need to take them through blackboard.
We will NOT grade on a curve. If everyone does well, everyone will get a good grade. However, it is our experience that there will be students who get a C or worse since they do not perform sufficiently well on the projects or exams. To receive a good grade, you will therefore need to perform well on both the exams and the projects. (A scaled score of 90% or better is in the A/A- range; and a scaled score in the 80's is in the B-/B/B+ range; etc.)
If you believe that we made a grading mistake, please write a note explaining the problem and give it to us along with your assignment. We will look at the whole assignment again (not just your answer in question), re-grade it, and return it to you. Please also monitor your score on blackboard to catch possible transcription mistakes.
We cannot make any exceptions to our policies, especially since this class is a very large class with only one instructor. SO, DO NOT ASK FOR ANY EXCEPTIONS without good reasons. For example, please do not ask for extensions of the project deadlines, even if you have to present a paper at the conference. (Instead, hand in the projects early.) Please do not ask us to change the weight associated with the projects and exams, even if you performed poorly on one of them, and so on.
Problems and Concerns
At some point, you will have questions. For example, you might not be able
to get code to run that we provided, there is something in the textbook that
you do not understand, and so on. In this case, we encourage you to first
post the question to the newsgroup and see whether someone can help you.
William will try to monitor the newsgroup as well and provide help. If this approach
does not generate the desired result, then we are happy to help you in
person. We do answer email but, unfortunately, often will not manage to
answer it on the same day. (Sometimes we will be out of town and it will take
Last Updated: June 28, 2010