About the Instructor
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
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
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
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
- 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
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.