CS 480 – Spring 2017

Introduction to Artificial Intelligence – CRN: 17770 – CS 480 - 001

Instructor:  Prof. Harry Wechsler wechsler@gmu.edu

Course Description – Principles and methods for knowledge representation, reasoning, learning, problem solving, planning, heuristic search, and natural language processing, and their application to building intelligent systems in a variety of domains. Uses LISP, PROLOG, or expert system programming language.


Prerequisite: C or better in CS 310 and 330

Relationship with CS580: CS480 and CS580 are taught concurrently during the SPRING 2017 semester and by the same instructor. While the courses cover similar topics and to some degree assignments, they will have quite different levels of difficulty. The additional topics time permitting can be different too.


Main Topics: Problem Solving, Search, Knowledge Representation and Reasoning, Uncertainty and Probabilistic Reasoning, Machine Learning, and Communication (Perception / Vision and Natural Language Processing). Additional topics time permitting: Data Mining and Deep Learning.

ABET Outcomes

·         Knowledge of and ability to apply uninformed and heuristic search methods;

·         Knowledge of and ability to apply knowledge representation and reasoning

methods based on first-order logic;

·         Knowledge of and ability to apply basic probabilistic reasoning methods;

·         Knowledge of and ability to apply basic machine learning methods;

·         Ability to implement basic AI methods in Lisp, Prolog or a knowledge-based 

system development environment;

·         Ability to identify and apply basic AI methods to a given problem.


Time, Day, and Venue: TR – Tuesday and Thursday, 1:30 pm – 2:45 pm, Art and Design Building L008

Office Hours: TR 3:00 pm – 3:45 pm or by appointment, ENGR 4448.


First day of classes: T, January 24, 2017

Spring Break: week of March 13, 2017

Last day of classes: R, May 4, 2017

Final Exam:  T, May 16, 1:30 pm – 4:15 pm 
Textbook: Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach, Russell and Norvig (3rd ed.), Prentice Hall, 2010.
Textbook Website: http://aima.cs.berkeley.edu/
Textbook Slides: http://aima.eecs.berkeley.edu/slides-pdf/
Complementary Textbook1: ANSI Common LISP, Paul Graham, Prentice Hall, 1995 http://www.paulgraham.com/onlisptext.html OR
Complementary Textbook2: Practical Common LISP http://www.gigamonkeys.com/book/ 


Grading Composition (100 points)

·                     Homework – 15 % // late homework not accepted //

·                     LISP or PROLOG assignment DUE March 21, 2017 – 15%

·                     GAME TEAM assignment DUE April 27, 2017 – 15%

·                     Midterm (Tentative) R, March 9, 2017 15 %

·                     (Cumulative) Final May 16, 2017 – 40 %

Baseline for Grading Scale


Computing Resources


Electronic Communications     


Per university policy 1315 http://universitypolicy.gmu.edu/policies/employees-electronic-communications/ you must use university email for all Mason-related email. Failure to do so puts us at risk of a violation of FERPA and could expose your entire personal email communications to legal discovery actions in the event of any legal actions that involve you.

Academic Integrity

You are expected to abide by the GMU honor code. Homework assignments and exams are individual efforts. Information on the university honor code can be found at


Additional departmental CS information: