The Department of Computer Science & Engineering
CSE 4/572:
Spring 2002


(Available on the Web at: )

Last Modified: 26 April 2002

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Index: Other Relevant Links:
  • Topics
  • CSE 472/572 homepage
  • Prerequisites
  • Directory of Documents
  • Staff
  • Class Meetings
  • Texts
  • Important Dates & Tentative Schedule
  • Reading
  • Attendance, Homeworks, Projects, Exams, Newsgroup
  • Homeworks
  • Projects
  • How to Study
  • Grading
  • Incompletes
  • Academic Integrity
  • Classroom Disruptions


    Survey of knowledge-based artificial intelligence - the study of how to program computers, using classical symbolic methods, to behave in ways normally attributed to "intelligence" when observed in humans. Topics chosen from: history, definition, and philosophical foundations of AI; search (representing states and operators, forward, backward, depth-first, breadth-first, uniform cost, A*); propositional logic (syntax, semantics, clause form, rules of inference, resolution); predicate logic (syntax, semantics, rules of inference, substitutions, unification); knowledge representation (semantic networks, inheritance, frames); planning (representing operators, the frame problem); natural-language processing (syntax, semantics, pragmatics, analysis, generation); agents.



    Dr. William J. Rapaport, 214 Bell Hall, 645-3180 x 112,
    Office Hours: Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 11:00-11:50 a.m.; and by appointment.

    Teaching Assistant:
    Mr. Nathan Bidwell; Trailer E, Desk 3, 645-3771,
    Office Hours: Mondays, 11:00 a.m. - 12:50 p.m., and by appointment.


    LectureRapaport472: 235525
    572: 075463
    MWF10:00 - 10:50 a.m. Natural Sciences 210
    Recitation R2 Bidwell 472: 211492
    572: 033645
    Fri 2:00 - 2:50 p.m.Clemens 113
    Recitation R1 Bidwell 472: 031745
    572: 323306
    Mon 1:00 - 1:50 p.m.Norton 213
    Recitation R3 Bidwell 472: 031632
    572: 225045
    Tue 8:30 - 9:20 a.m.Bell 139

    NOTE: Recitations begin Friday, January 25



    Note: For the record, I have adjusted some of the dates below to reflect what we actually did in class, rather than on what I had hoped to do :-)

      Jan 23 - Feb 4 Intro to course.
    What is AI?
    Agents; Cassie.
      1 (Intro),
      2 (Agents);


      2 (Turing),
      3 (Minsky),
      4 (Newell & Simon),
      5 (Newell)
    Wed Jan 23 CCS Colloquium
    David Pierce, UB CSE
    "Machine Learning Strategies for Corpus-Based Natural-Language Processing"
    2:00 - 4:00 p.m., 280 Park
    Fri, Mon, Tue Jan 25, 28, 29 First meetings of recitations
      Feb 6 - Feb 20 Search R&N:
      3 (search),
      4.1 (best-first),
      4.2 (heuristic search)
    Luger 16 (GPS)
    Mon Feb 18 *** PROJECT 1 (mini-Eliza) DUE ***
    Tue Feb 19 UB CSEGSA Grad Conference
    Wed Feb 20 CCS Colloquium
    Suzanne Stevenson, U/Toronto CS
    "Learning Semantic Classes of Verbs from Syntactic Frequencies"
    2:00 - 4:00 p.m., 280 Park
      Feb 22 - Apr 10 Reasoning:
    logic & automated theorem proving
      6 (logical agents),
      7 (FOL),
      9 (inference),
      10.1, 10.2 (unification);
      10 (Hayes, "In defense of logic"),
      14 (Logic Theorist)
    Fri Mar 8 *** PROJECT 2 (search) DUE ***
    Wed Mar 6 CCS Colloquium
    Ernest Lepore, Rutgers/Phil & CogSci
    "An Abuse of Context in Semantics"
    2:00 - 4:00 p.m., 280 Park
    Wed Mar 13 Review for Mid-Term
    Wed Mar 13 CCS Colloquium
    Ray Jackendoff, Brandeis/Ling & CogSci
    "Reintegrating Generative Linguistics"
    2:00 - 4:00 p.m., 280 Park
    Thu Mar 14 CCS Colloquium
    Ray Jackendoff, Brandeis/Ling & CogSci
    "Possible Stages in the Evolution of the Language Capacity"
    3:00 - 5:00 p.m., 280 Park
    Fri Mar 15 *** MID-TERM EXAM ***
    Mon Mar 18 Review of Mid-Term
    Fri Mar 22 *** Last day to withdraw with a grade of `R' ***
    Sat-Sun Mar 23 - Mar 30 Spring Break (no classes)
      Apr 12 -
    Apr 26
    Knowledge representation;
      8 (KB),
      10.5 (production systems),
      10.6 (semantic networks);
    SNePS readings;


      6 (Minsky, frames),
      7 (Collins & Quillian, semantic networks),
      9 (Schank, conceptual dependency),
      19 (McCarthy, advice taker)
    Wed Apr 17 CCS Colloquium
    Susan Lederman, Queens U/Psych & CIS
    "Designing Haptic and Multimodal Interfaces for Teleoperation and Virtual Environments Systems: A Cognitive Scientist's Perspective"
    2:00 - 4:00 p.m., 280 Park
    Fri Apr 19 *** PROJECT 3 (automated reasoning) DUE ***
    Wed Apr 24 CCS Colloquium
    Jeffry Pelletier, U/Alberta Phil & CS
    "A Philosophical Look at Compositionality"
    2:00 - 4:00 p.m., 280 Park
    Apr 26
    Natural-language understanding R&N:
      22 (communicating agents),
      23 (NLP);
    SNePS readings;

    Luger 8 (Winograd)

      Apr 29 - May 1 Philosophical issues in AI R&N:
      26 (philosophical foundations),
      27 (future of AI);
      2 ( Turing),
      29 (Minsky, on various disputes in AI),
      30 (Simon);
    Searle's Chinese-Room Argument
      See the newsgroup for login info if needed
    Fri May 3 Last Class: Review

    *** PROJECT 4 (SNePS) DUE ***

    Mon, Tue, Fri Apr 29, 30; May 3 Last meetings of recitations
    Thu May 9 ***FINAL EXAM***

    3:30-6:30 p.m., Fillmore 355


    1. ReadingCSE 472CSE 572
      R&N sections listed above;
      other assigned readings
      Luger sections listed above strongly recommended even more strongly recommended!!
      sections of R&N
      at least read the intro
      & summary sections
      strongly recommended;
      at least read the intro
      & summary sections

    2. Not all assigned readings will be covered in lecture (in lecture, we shall only cover interesting or hard material, plus occasionally material that is not in the texts), but you are responsible for all assigned material in the texts and lectures.

    3. See "How to Read (a Computer Science Text)".


    1. You will be expected to attend all lectures and recitations, and to complete all readings and assignments on time. There will be weekly homework assignments, 4 programming projects (preferably in Lisp), a mid-term exam, and a final exam (during exam week). Taking both the exams is a necessary condition for passing the course.

    2. All homeworks will be announced in lecture. Therefore, be sure to get a classmate's phone number (for instance, 1 or 2 people sitting next to you in class, whoever they are!) so that you will not miss assignments in the unlikely event that you miss a class. There may be occasional extra assignments and quizzes in labs.

    3. You should subscribe to, and regularly monitor, the newsgroups sunyab.cse.472 and sunyab.cse.572. You may post questions and comments there that are of general interest to the entire class. From time to time, information about homeworks, etc., will be posted to the newsgroups. These newsgroups will be archived in the CSE 472/572 Newsgroup Archive.

    4. Just as you cannot expect to learn how to drive a car by reading about it or by watching other people do it, the same holds true for doing computer science. Do your work on time--this is one course you simply cannot cram for at the last minute, so don't even try! I cannot stress this strongly enough. Homeworks and--especially--projects may be fairly time-consuming, so please consider your other commitments, and plan your time accordingly.

    5. Students should notify Prof. Rapaport within the first two weeks of class if they have a disability which would make it difficult to carry out course work as outlined (requiring note-takers, readers, extended test time).


    1. HW assignments will be of the "paper-and-pencil" variety, to be done at home.

    2. The purposes of homeworks are:

      • to give you practice in applying the concepts covered in the course
      • to give you a chance to assess the level of your understanding

    3. There will be approximately 1 HW each week.

    4. Due dates will be announced in lecture when the homework is assigned. HWs will be collected at the start of lecture on the due date. This is so that the homework can be discussed in the class period when it is due.

      If they are turned in after the start of lecture, your grade will be discounted by one full letter grade (e.g., A becomes B, A- becomes B-, etc.).

      If they are turned in after the start of the next lecture, your grade will be discounted by two full letter grades (e.g., A becomes C, A- becomes C-, etc.).

      If you turn in a HW after the start of the class after that, your grade will be discounted by three full letter grades (e.g., A becomes D, etc.).

      No HWs will be accepted after that.

    5. Put your full name, date, and your recitation number (R1, R2, R3) at the top right-hand side of each page, and secure all pages with a staple in the top left-hand corner.

    6. Note: The lowest homework grade will be dropped. You should assume that you will fail to turn in one homework (oversleep, get stuck in traffic, etc.)--that's the one that will be dropped. If you know now that you will regularly be late, see me to make alternative arrangements for turning in your work. Your graded HW will be returned in recitation. Occasional extra assignments or quizzes from lab can be used to replace low HW grades, at your TA's discretion.


    1. Programming Languages, Lisp, and Unix: The prerequisite for this course is knowledge of programming in Common Lisp. However, CSE 202 was not taught last semester, so it is quite possible that many of you do not know any Lisp. Therefore, I will allow all students to use their favorite programming language(s) for the projects.

      CSE 472 students will have accounts on the CSE undergraduate machines; CSE 572 students will have accounts on the Grad Lab machines. If you do not have access to these machines, please let me know as soon as possible! You will be expected to learn how to use Unix and emacs on your own.

      But you are strongly advised to (learn and) use Lisp if you intend to do any research in AI. Moreover, there are good reasons to learn Lisp even if you want to make it in the real world of e-commerce; see:

      1. Paul Graham's Lisp Resources

      2. St. Amant, Robert, & Young, R. Michael (2001), "Common Lisp Resources on the Web", intelligence 12(3): 21-23.

      3. ... and, especially,
        Graham, Paul (2001), "Beating the Averages".

      The implementation of Lisp for this course is Allegro Common Lisp (acl), which runs under the Unix operating system. You will be expected to learn the idiosyncrasies of Allegro Common Lisp on your own (the Shapiro text should be of help). For more information on Lisp, see Marty Hall's "An Introduction and Tutorial for Common Lisp" website. CIT offers short courses on Unix, etc. To contact CIT:

      in person:216 Computing Center
      by phone:645-3542
      by fax:645-3617
      on the Web:

    2. Project Policies:


      For general advice on how to study for any course, see my web page,
      "How to Study".


      All graded work will receive a letter grade: 'A', 'A-', 'B+', 'B', 'B-', 'C+', 'C', 'C-' (472 only), 'D+' (472 only), 'D', or 'F'. Your course grade will be calculated as a weighted average of all letter grades according to the following weights:

      Recitation grade
      (including attendance, homeworks, quizzes, etc.)
      Midterm Exam25%
      Final Exam25%

      For further information, see my web document on "Grading Principles"


      It is University policy that a grade of Incomplete is to be given only when a small amount of work or a single exam is missed due to circumstances beyond the student's control, and that student is otherwise doing passing work. I will follow this policy strictly! Thus, you should assume that I will not give incompletes :-) Any incompletes that I might give, in a lapse of judgment :-), will have to be made up by the end of the Fall 2002 semester. For more information on Incomplete policies, see the web page, "Incompletes".


      While it is acceptable to discuss general approaches with your fellow students, the work you turn in must be your own. It is the policy of this department that any violation of academic integrity will result in an F for the course, that all departmental financial support including teaching assistanceship, research assistanceship, or scholarships be terminated, that notification of this action be placed in the student's confidential departmental record, and that the student be permanently ineligible for future departmental financial support. If you have any problems doing the homeworks or projects, consult the TA or Prof. Rapaport. Please be sure to read the webpage,
      "Academic Integrity: Policies and Procedures", which spells out all the details of this, and related, policies.


      In large classes (such as this), students have been known to be disruptive, either to the instructor or to fellow students. The university's policies on this topic, both how the instructor should respond and how students should behave, may be found in the document
      "Obstruction or Disruption in the Classroom - Policies"

      William J. Rapaport (
      file: 572/S02/syl.26ap02.html