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Course Description

This course is a broad technical introduction to the techniques that enable computers to behave intelligently: problem solving and game playing, knowledge representation and reasoning, planning and decision making, learning, perception and interpretation. Focus is on the application of these techniques to real-world systems, with some programming in LISP.

Course Objectives

  • To gain familiarity with the foundations and the history of Artificial Intelligence
  • To learn how to solve problems by various searching strategies
  • To develop skills in evolutional computing
  • To develop knowledge and reasoning skills
  • To gain knowledge on knowledge representation
  • To develop skills in learning from observations and statistical learning
  • To gain skills in reinforcement learning
  • To develop skills of using Artificial Intelligence algorithms for solving practical problems


For CS 470:
CS 320L and CS 450

For CS 670:
CS 310 andCS 320L and MATH 470 or permission of instructor.

Required Textbook

Artifical Intelligence: A Modern Approach. 2nd edition. Stuart Russell and Peter Norvig. Prentice Hall. 2002. (ISBN: 978-0137903955 1132 pages)

Other Reading


Component Percentage

Participation 5%
Individual Homework 15%
Term Project 15%
Midterm Exam 30%
Final Exam 35%


  1. Homework:
    • All homework must be typed not hand-written and must be submitted with the given cover page (Download the cover pages from the Assignments page).
    • Homework is due exactly at the prescribed time. No late homework is accepted.
    • Turn in the paper copy of a homework assignment in class and submit the softcopy of the assignment through your UMass Online Blackboard Blackboard Learning System (BLS) account at
    • Any questions or complaints regarding the grading of an assignment or test must be raised within one week after the score or the graded assignment is made available (not when you pick it up).
  2. Providing answers for any examination when not specifically authorized by the instructor to do so, or, informing any person or persons of the contents of any examination prior to the time the examination is given is considered cheating.
  3. Penalty for cheating will be extremely severe. Use your best judgment. If you are not sure about certain activities, consult the instructor. Standard academic honesty procedure will be followed for cheating and active cheating automatically results F in the final grade. Please check University Policy on Academic Standards and Cheating for additional information.
  4. You are expected to come fully prepared to every class.
  5. No incomplete grade under nearly all situations.
  6. There is no formal attendance policy. However, you are responsible for everything discussed in class. You may receive a zero for lack of participation.
  7. Pay very careful attention to your email correspondence. It reflects on your communication skills. Avoid using non-standard English such as "how r u?" in your email message. In addition, I recommend you put the class number 470/670 and a brief summary of your question in your email subject. For example: Subject: CS470/670 A question on heuristic search.
  8. I immediately discard anonymous emails.
  9. The ringing, beeping, buzzing of cell phones, watches, and/or pagers during class time is extremely rude and disruptive to your fellow students and to the class flow. Please turn off all cell phones, watches, and pagers prior to the start of class.
Copyright ©2008 Wei Ding, Ph.D.