The Department of Computer Science & Engineering
CSE 727:
Spring 2007


This is a living document; the latest version will always be available on the Web at:

Last Update: 19 February 2007

Note: NEW or UPDATED material is highlighted

Index: Other Relevant Links:
  • Course Description
  • CSE 727 homepage
  • Prerequisites
  • Directory of Documents
  • Staff
  • Email Archive
  • Class Meetings
  • Important Dates & Tentative Schedule
  • Reading
  • Project
  • Attendance, Homeworks, Assignments, Listserv
  • How to Study
  • Grading
  • Incompletes
  • Academic Integrity


    This seminar will be devoted to a research project whose principal investigators are Prof. William J. Rapaport (Department of Computer Science and Engineering, and Center for Cognitive Science) and
    Prof. Michael W. Kibby (Department of Learning and Instruction, and Center for Literacy and Reading Instruction):




    Seminar Rapaport 123893 M 2:00 p.m. - 4:50 p.m. Bell 242


    Note: As the semester progresses, I will adjust some of the dates below to reflect what we actually do in class, rather than on what I hope to do:-)

    M Jan 22 First meeting:
    Intro to CVA project;
    discuss individual projects.

    SNePS Tutorial assigned

    Rapaport & Ehrlich 2000
    Rapaport 2003
    Rapaport 2005
    Rapaport & Kibby (in press)
    M   29 The CVA Project (cont'd) Shapiro & Rapaport 1987
    Shapiro & Rapaport 1995
    Martins 2002
    M Feb 5 Intro to the SNePS KRRA system


    "Essential" CVA readings
    through end of semester
    M   12 SNePS (cont'd);
    CVA case frames
    M   19 NEW
    CVA case frames (cont'd);
    examples of SNePS rep'ns of sentences.
    M   26 SNePS & CVA (cont'd);
    student progress reports begin
    M Mar 5 student progress reports
    continue till end of semester
    SSMTWRFSS   10-18 Spring Break  
    F   30 LAST "R" DATE  
    M Apr 30 Last Class: summary reports  


    "Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself." — Chinese Proverb

    "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink." — American Proverb

    "You can lead a horse to water, but you must convince him it is water before there is any chance he will drink." — Albert Goldfain

    "Education is not filling a bucket, but lighting a fire" — William Butler Yeats

    In addition to your CVA project, I will expect you to do some background reading during the semester.

    1. The first set of readings will be 4 papers on the CVA project and 3 papers on SNePS (see the reading assignments above).

    2. The second set of readings will be the "essential CVA readings". I would like you to read all of them. Moreover, for at least 10 of the approximately two dozen readings from this second set, you must submit a 1-paragraph commentary: some insight or idea that struck you from the reading, an extension or application of the ideas, a question that the reading inspired (perhaps informed by some further reading on your part), or any other commentary inspired by the reading. The commentaries should not be summaries of the reading.(*) These are to be submitted on-line to the course Listserv on a weekly basis. You will also be expected to submit response postings; the commentaries and responses should help our class discussions as well as your own thinking.

      The 10 that you comment on must include the 8 listed at "Really Essential CVA Readings", plus at least 2 more.

      Please do not submit these all at once at the end of the semester! There are about 11 weeks in the semester after the required CVA and SNePS readings; so, you should plan on reading at least 1 per week, starting from the first of those 11 weeks!

    These commentaries will be read and recorded, but not graded. However, the number that you do satisfactorily will be factored into your final grade.


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

  • For advice on how to read technical papers in any field (including computer science, psychology, education, etc.), see "How to Read (a Computer Science Text)".



    1. You will be expected to:

      1. attend all seminar meetings (attendance will be taken),
      2. participate in class discussions,
      3. present at least one, hopefully two, and possibly three oral progress reports during the seminar meetings, and
      4. complete all readings and assignments on time.

    2. Email list:

      You will automatically be placed on an email list (a "Listserv") for the course. If you do not normally read email at the email address that UB has as your official address, please either do so for this course, or else have your mail forwarded. I will use this list as my main means of communicating with you out of class. And you can use it to communicate with the rest of us.

      You may send questions and comments that are of general interest to the entire class using the Listserv: Just send them to:

      You can also send email just to me, at:

      In any case, be sure to fill in the subject line, beginning with "CSE727: " so that my mailer doesn't think it's spam.

      If you send email just to me that I deem to be of general interest, I will feel free to remail it anonymously to the email list along with my reply unless you explicitly tell me otherwise.

      The emails will be archived at the listserv website, and I will also archive them at

      For more information, read the Listserv Information webpage.

    3. 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).


    Since this is a seminar, it will be graded on an S/U basis. However, my determination of S vs. U will be determined by a weighted average of your attendance, seminar presentations, seminar participation, on-line CVA-paper commentaries, and final report.

    For further information on my philosophy of grading, see my web document on "How I Grade"


    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 2007

    For more information on Incomplete policies, see the Graduate School web page, "Incomplete Grades".


    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 assistantships, research assistantships, 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 assignments, consult 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.

    (*) The idea and wording for this reading-commentary assignment are borrowed from the assignments for Stuart M. Shieber's course "Can Machines Think". [Back to text]

    Copyright © 2007 by William J. Rapaport (
    file: 727cva/syl-20070219.html