George Mason University
of Information Technology and Engineering
Department of Computer Science


CS 499 Knowledge Engineering


Meeting time: Tuesday 4:30 pm – 7:10 pm
Meeting location: Innovation Hall 222


Instructor: Dr. Gheorghe Tecuci, Professor of Computer Science

Office hours: Tuesday 7:15 pm – 8:05 pm
Office: Nguyen Engineering Building, Learning Agents Center, Room 4613
: 703 993 1722
tecuci at gmu dot edu


Course Description


Prerequisite: 60 credits and C or better in CS 310 and CS 330


Knowledge Engineering is the discipline concerned with the design, development, and maintenance of computer systems that rely on knowledge and reasoning to solve complex problems, commonly called knowledge-based systems or agents. These systems which address the capturing, using, preserving, transferring, sharing, and teaching of knowledge, represent a critical technology in the current evolution toward the knowledge society.


The course covers the basics of knowledge engineering, including: ontologies and the semantic web, mixed-initiative reasoning, evidence-based reasoning and discovery, knowledge acquisition and learning, knowledge base verification, validation and integration, and frontier research in knowledge engineering.


This is a hands-on course where the learning of principles, concepts and methods will be enhanced by the practice of using knowledge engineering tools developed in the Learning Agents Center ( to build a knowledge-based system in an area chosen by each individual student or student team. Examples of such areas include: cyber security, intelligence analysis, website evaluation, crime scene investigation, medical diagnosis, behavior modeling, advisor or course evaluation, real-estate assessment, tutoring, or any other area involving knowledge-based reasoning.


Students will have accounts on Blackboard and can download the lecture notes by going to and logging in using their Mason ID and passwords.




Students will obtain a basic understanding of knowledge-based reasoning, of modeling expert problem solving, of designing and developing ontologies, of developing reasoning rules through teaching and learning, and will have the ability to design and develop knowledge-based systems.


Grading Policy

Exam – 50%
Project assignments and class participation – 50%



Tecuci G., Lecture Notes on Knowledge Engineering, Fall 2011 (required).

Additional papers required or recommended by the instructor.


Email Communication

1. Please include CS499 in the subject of any message you are emailing to Dr. Tecuci.

2. Please try to limit the size of the files you are emailing.


GMU Email Accounts

Students must activate their GMU email accounts to receive important University information, including messages related to this class.


Office of Disability Services

If you are a student with a disability and you need academic accommodations, please see me and contact the Office of Disability Services (ODS) at 993-2474. All academic accommodations must be arranged through the ODS.


Other Useful Campus Resources

Writing Center: A114 Robinson Hall; (703) 993-1200;

University Libraries “Ask a Librarian”

Counseling And Psychological Services (CAPS): (703) 993-2380;


University Policies

The University Catalog,, is the central resource for university policies affecting student, faculty, and staff conduct in university affairs.


Honor Code

You are expected to abide by the GMU honor code. Information on the university honor code can be found at

Additional departmental CS information: