About the Instructor
CSC 261 Artificial Intelligence Fall 2013

What questions about the class do you have that aren't answered by the Web site?

How many year have you been teaching this course? How much have you had to adjust the course to keep up with the advances in the field?
The first AI course I was involved in teaching was fall 2006. I've been teaching it at Grinnell since 2009. Because most of what I teach are "fundamentals", the basics don't change, but I keep current (because it's my research area) and that allows me to use new examples and connections all the time. I also build in a few days at the end where we can look at more cutting-edge topics in the hope that you'll be able to connect newer readings to those basics.
Do you know what the ratio of C programming exercises to scheme programming exercises will be for the course?
3:7 with one in prolog and another currently undecided.
If someone were to write a script that could take the lab assignments and change them into a submittable format, could that person share that script with the class?
Yes, I would be very happy to have that (interest has been expressed since 2008!). The main non-triviality is ensuring that not all .scm files get included, but only the ones I ask for.
Can we come and talk to you about graduate schools and computer vision?
Absolutely! The department also usually gives a Thursday Extra on Grad School (in CS-ish things) in the fall.
What sorts of technologies will we be using to explore the concepts of the course?
I'm not sure what is meant by "technologies", but I can tell you that you'll be writing programs in Scheme and C, using libraries mostly I have developed.
Is it acceptable to use my laptop in class?
Computers abound in our classroom. So long as they are an enhancement and not a distraction, I am not opposed.
What is the format of the exams in this class? Will they be written? Will we have to write code?
They will be conceptual, in-class exams. On paper, no computer, closed notes. You will not be asked to write code, but you will be expected to understand the nature of the algorithms we discuss -- when they are appropriate, what their performance is, how they behave, etc. The kinds of conceptual grappling you'll do in your reading journals combined with the experience you gain from using algorithms in the lab assignemnts should be excellent preparation.
Is the PioneerWeb Discussion Board meant for us to ask you questions or for us to ask each other questions?
Both! Having questions posted to P-Web gives everyone a chance to respond (sometimes your peers may be quicker than me).
Would you prefer questions to be sent via PioneerWeb rather than email?
Yes! Assuming the questions are of a general, conceptual nature (or, say, asking for clarification about an exercise), they should absolutely be directed to P-Web so that everyone may have the opportunity to respond, but more importantly, to see the response.
Are there extra credit opportunities?
I haven't thought of including any directly in the course. However, any extra AI-related activities you'd like to undertake and share I will gladly consider and evaluate.
Do we have to include a statement of correctness with our assignments? That was a policy in the past.
Not explicitly, but your demonstration code would be best if it included comments indicating the purpose of the various pieces. This is tantamount to such a statement.
Also, why do we have to bring a hard copy of the lab to class?
During lab you will have to juggle the in-class exercises, the scheme interpreter, and the reference material or context provided by the lab assignment itself. I find this likely to be one too many. Being able to refer to a spec or context or problem at the same time you are dealing with the screen (especially with our tiny monitors) is a useful habit I'd like to promote (or suggest you try). I also find it helpful to have it for scribbling upon. That said, if you have strong philosophical objections, I will not protest.
Jerod Weinman
Created 1 September 2009
Revised 22 January 2009
Revised 12 August 2011
Revised 30 August 2011