TR, 11:00am
Woods Lab 136

    Office Hours:   WL 119
TR 2:00-3:00
or by appointment
    email:     scarl AT sewanee D0T edu
    phone:     598-1305


Can computers think?  Or is it enough to consider Artificial Intelligence to be a particular powerful way of amplifying human intelligence?  Can machines or programs tell us anything about how the human brain works?  Our objective is to think about these questions while studying how powerful AI algorithms are used and implemented using   Lisp (and possibly Prolog as well).  In particular, we will look at knowledge representations, state space search techniques in the context of games and more serious applications, and machine learning, including biologically-inspired systems such as neural networks and genetic algorithms.


Objectives of the course: the student will understand

  1. program representation of logic, using both propositional and predicate calculus
  2. various forms of state-space search, including DFS, BFS, and heuristic search
  3. knowledge representations for AI systems
  4. rule-based systems, probabilistic systems, and reasoning with uncertainty
  5. computer perception
  6. biology-inspired methods of machine learning such as neural networks and genetic algorithms


There is no textbook for this course. We rely on online resources and sections of books on reserve at the library.

The grade for the course will be based upon the following:


4 Tutorial assignments (5 points each)



3 AI Programming Projects (5+10+10 points each)



Midterm Exam


AI Term Paper 20

2 Lecture summaries and class participation 05

Final exam (Saturday, May 2nd, 9:00 AM)



Attendance is an important factor in succeeding in this course. There will be in-class exercises and programming, as well as daily assignments given during most classes. The student is responsible for making up any work missed due to absence. The Dean's Office will be notified after three unexcused absences.

Computer use and accounts:


The tutorial programs are week long assignments, the AI programs will take two to three weeks each, and the term paper will likely be scheduled toward the last third of the term. To support the intellectual life of the university, you are asked to attend at least two lectures/talks outside of the formal classroom experience and submit a 1-2 page summary of the ideas presented.  Attending at least one talk sponsored by our department (for example, the Ebey Lecture) is highly recommended.

Students are expected to work independently on homework assignments unless group work is specifically indicated. Each assignment will specify how and when it is to be turned in. Occasionally you will be asked to submit assignments electronically by e-mail. Late assignments are penalized 10% for each day late, but every student has 3 grace days for the semester.

The Honor Code applies to all exams and assignments. Plagiarism is copying or imitating the language and thoughts of others, whether computer program, website, or written paper. For more information, see the Course Policies and Grading page.