George Mason University
The Volgenau School of Engineering
Department of Computer Science

CS 580 Introduction to Artificial Intelligence


Meeting time: Tuesday 4:30 pm – 7:10 pm

Meeting location: Nguyen Engineering Building 2608


Instructor: Dr. Gheorghe Tecuci, Professor of Computer Science

Office hours: Monday and Tuesday 7:15 pm – 8:05 pm
Office: Nguyen Engineering Building 4613
Phone: 703 993 1722
E-mail: tecuci at gmu dot edu


Teaching Assistant (part time): Ms. Tanwistha Saha (tsaha at masonlive dot gmu dot edu)
Office hours: Wednesday 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm, Thursday 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

Office: Nguyen Engineering Building 5323



Course Description

Artificial Intelligence is the Science and Engineering domain which is concerned with the theory and practice of developing systems that exhibit the characteristics we associate with intelligence in human behavior, such as reasoning, planning and problem solving, learning and adaptation, natural language processing, and perception. This course presents the basic principles and the major methods of Artificial Intelligence, preparing the students to build complex systems incorporating capabilities for intelligent processing of information. Covered topics include: heuristic search and game playing, knowledge representation, logic and probabilistic reasoning, learning and knowledge acquisition, knowledge engineering, expert systems and intelligent agents, Common LISP, Prolog, and SPARQL. The students will also learn about the Disciple agent development environment created in the Learning Agents Center of George Mason University, as well as other artificial intelligence tools, such as the Weka machine learning workbench, and the SPARQL endpoints for the semantic web. Students will have accounts on Blackboard and can download the lecture notes by going to and logging in using their Mason ID and passwords.


Internet Class Delivery

·         This course is delivered to the Internet section online using the Moodle learning management system with MIST/C. Students in all sections will have accounts on Moodle and download the slide files from the Moodle course page. All enrolled students will be able to play recordings of class sessions; however, only students in online sections will be able to connect to live class sessions. Login information is sent to all enrolled students by email, before the first scheduled class.

·         Login to Moodle by first selecting your course at the URL:

·         Then login using your GMU email username and password. Enter the enrollment key when prompted. After this first access you will be able to simply login to Moodle without using the enrollment key.

·         The recordings can be played using the MISTC version 5.2.4 software available through Moodle. The install directions on the webpage include details for playing MIST/C recordings. You can test by playing the WelcomeToMISTC recording installed in Documents/MISTCDATA/RECORDINGS/OFFLINE with the client download.

·         If you need help with Moodle access, please send email to


Additional Information for the Students in the Distance Education Section

·         Once in your Moodle course, click on the MISTC Client Software Downloads link and follow directions for Windows, Macintosh, or Linux. (You should load and test the MISTC client at least a day before your first online class.) Next, click on the Connect to Class Session link on the Moodle webpage.

·         The MIST/C install directions on the webpage include details for connecting to class and for playing MIST/C recordings. You can test by connecting to the server through the Moodle live class link at any time - it is always available. Also, you should test by playing the WelcomeToMISTC recording installed in Documents/MISTCDATA/RECORDINGS/OFFLINE with the client download.

·         NOTE: MIST/C requires Java on your computer, but it does not require Java in your browser. So you can do what we have done in our lab to minimize risk: turn off Java plug-ins to avoid concerns about security problems. If you have problems with MIST/C, please check the FAQs link on the downloads page first, before sending email to


Grading Policy

There will be several homework assignments, a mid-term exam and a final exam.

The course grade will be determined as follows:

·         Assignments or project 33.3%

·         Mid-term exam 33.3%

·         Final exam 33.3%


Exam Dates

·         Mid-term exam: 10/22/2013

·         Final exam: 12/10/2013


Assignments Deadline Policy
Assignments will be due at 4:30pm on Tuesdays, before the beginning of the class. No late assignments will be accepted because their solution will be discussed in class the day they are due.


Honor Code Policy
GMU is an Honor Code university. You are expected to abide by the University's honor code, as well as the CS department Honor Code at Any collaboration between students on assignments or exams is unacceptable. If it is determined that two assignments or exams have not been done independently, then the grade will be split between their authors. For example, in case of a 30p assignment each will receive 15p. We reserve the right to use MOSS to detect plagiarism in the programming assignments.


Required Reading

Tecuci G., Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence, 2013 (available online).


Recommended Readings

·         Russell S., and P. Norvig P., Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach, Prentice Hall, Third edition (ISBN-13: 978-0-13-604259-4, 2010), Second edition (ISBN: 0-13-790395-2, 2003). This book is on reserve for CS580 at the Johnson Center Library, and may be borrowed for 2 hours. To borrow it, you will need to provide its title and call number, as follows: Artificial Intelligence, 3rd ed., Q335 .R86 2010

·         Graham P., ANSI Common Lisp, Prentice Hall, ISBN: 0133708756, available on line.


Other Useful Readings

·         Poole D.L. and Mackworth A.K., Artificial Intelligence: Foundations of Computational Agents, Cambridge University Press, 2010.

·         Tecuci G., Building Intelligent Agents: An Apprenticeship Multistrategy Learning Theory, Methodology, Tool and Case Studies, Academic Press, 1998.

·         Giarratano J. and Riley G., Expert Systems: Principles and Programming, Third Edition, PWS Publishing Company, Boston, 1994.

·         Wilensky R., Common LISPcraft, Norton & Company, 1989.

·         Jones T.M., Artificial Intelligence: A Systems Approach, Jones and Bartlett Publishers, 2009.

·         Luger G., Artificial Intelligence: Structures and Strategies for Complex Problem Solving, Addison Wesley, 2009.

·         Winston P.H., Artificial Intelligence, Addison-Wesley.

·         Winston P.H., Horn B.K.P., LISP, Addison-Wesley.

·         Rich E., Knight K., Artificial Intelligence, McGraw-Hill.

·         Bratko I., PROLOG Programming for Artificial Intelligence, Addison Wesley.

·         Coppin B., Artificial Intelligence Illuminated, Jones and Bartlett publishers, 2004.

·         Dean T., Allen J., Aloimonos Y., Artificial Intelligence: Theory and Practice, The Benjamin/Cummings Pub. Comp.

·         Ginsberg M., Essentials of Artificial Intelligence, Morgan Kaufmann.

·         Negnevitsky M., Artificial Intelligence: A Guide to Intelligent Systems, Addison Wesley, 2002.

·         Steele G.L., Common Lisp the Language, 2nd Edition.


Email Communication

·         Please include CS580 in the subject of any message you are emailing to Dr. Tecuci.

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

·         If you are in the distance education section, you may email the assignments to Dr. Tecuci by the indicated deadline (making sure that the files are not too large).


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.