CS116 - Artificial Intelligence
Spring, 2004
Project Information
(updated 4/23/2004)

The project for this course may either be coding-based or research and writing-based.  In either case, you will prepare a project proposal during the first two weeks of class.  All deliverables and assignments will be submitted through the course WebCT page.  Project deliverables are due at 5:00pm on their respective Fridays.

The schedule of deliverables with their scoring weight is as follows:
Fri. Jan. 30:  Project proposal (10%)
Fri. Feb. 27:  First deliverable due (30%)
Fri. Apr. 9:    Second deliverable due (30%)
Fri. Apr. 30:  Final project due (30%)

Please note: because the lion's share of the project credit is distributed over the three substantive deliverables, you may want to take special precautions if you tend to procrastinate.  By this, I mean you might not want to turn in a marginal first deliverable in Feb expecting to make it up with a stellar final project.

The Proposal :  You should present enough detail for me to evaluate whether you have carefully considered the selected problem and whether you have scoped it appropriately.  A good heuristic is to describe the problem in general and why it is interesting, and then describe what you intend to do.

Coding Project Ideas

1. Symbolic differentiation
2. Theorem prover
3. Alpha-Beta pruning for game play
4. Analysis of heuristic search
5. Path planning
6. Natural language question/answer system
7. PROLOG interpreter
8. Learn pre- and post-conditions of primitive operators for a means-ends analysis problem solver.*

The programming-based project will implement (in Lisp) an advanced feature of Artificial Intelligence techniques.  Projects will extend beyond standard methods described in the textbooks.  You are expected to do something mildly novel with the implementation.  In addition to the code, you will write a short report briefly describing the background on the problem and technique, and then briefly discuss your contribution to the implementation, and finally, empirically evaluate your system's performance.  Your report might only have a couple of references.  The project will be developed in three phases with corresponding deliverables.  For the first deliverable, the core functions should be implemented and remaining functions (i.e., your extensions) should be outlined as functional stubs.  Your second deliverable should be all but complete; at this stage the system is functional.  The final deliverable will include your written report and the fully implemented and tested system.

Research-report Project Ideas

1. Write an in-depth review of a cognitive architecture, addressing how the architecture interacts with topics from Philosophy of Mind.
2. Answer the question "Are we computers?".
3. Discuss the implications, both socially and individually, of a computational system able to predict human behavior, e.g., analgous to the premise of the movie, Minority Report.
4. Discuss the prospects of free-will for computers.

The research-report track will present and develop an idea in a substantial paper.  Several deliverables will be submitted subsequent to the approved topic proposal.  The first deliverable will consist of an outline and an annotated bibliography.  The second deliverable will be a complete draft.  The final report (third deliverable) should be roughly 3500 words (including references).  As you are doing the research for this report, you will gain a good sense of what I expect for your paper from the papers that you will be reading.  A typical bibliography will have 8 to 12 references.  More details and formatting instructions will be provided later.