CS 4804: Introduction to Artificial Intelligence



This course will cover the foundations of modern artificial intelligence (AI) and many of the key ideas that have resonated throughout its history. It will focus on concepts that are not only important in the space of AI, but are also practically useful in modern applications. We will practice effective methods of reasoning about AI problems, which will generalize beyond the specific topics we study in class.

Class meets Tuesday and Thursday from 9:30 AM to 10:45 AM in NCB 230 (New Classroom Building).

The course homepage (this page) is http://courses.cs.vt.edu/cs4804/.


Bert Huang, Assistant Professor of Computer Science
Office hours: Wednesday 2pm—3pm, Friday 2pm—3pm, Torgersen Hall 3160L

Teaching Assistants:

Dhoha Abid
Office hours: Monday 2pm—3pm, Wednesday 9am—10am, Torgersen Hall 2160R

Walid Chaabene
Office hours: Tuesday 2pm—3pm, Kelly Hall 219

Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to



The only official prerequisite is CS 3114 (Undergraduate Data Structures and Algorithms). You should be comfortable with discrete mathematics, basic probability and statistics, basic logic, computational complexity, data structures, and algorithm analysis. The homework assignments will include programming portions using Python.

Please speak with the instructor if you are concerned about your background. Note: If any student needs special accommodations because of any disabilities, please contact the instructor during the first week of classes.

Reading and materials

Grading breakdown

Format and attendance

The class is designed with the aim to keep the in-class experience interactive, engaging, and fun. As much as possible, I will present dense and dry material in online video lectures that you will watch on your own time, and we will spend class time discussing your questions, details you are interested in, and working together on the homework problems.

To make sure this experience works for everyone, class attendance is mandatory. I will take attendance at my discretion, and I will penalize any unexcused absences.

Discussion forum

We will use Canvas (http://canvas.vt.edu) for online discussion, announcements, and homework submission. You are encouraged to ask and answer questions on the forum, as long as you do not give away solutions to homework problems. Participation in the online forum will count toward class the participation grade.



Exams for this course will be open-book and notes. They will be designed with the intent of testing your ability to understand and apply the concepts we learn about in class, not whether you can memorize them. The only restriction to avoid communication with others is that you won’t be allowed to use electronic tools like laptops and smartphones during the exams.

The midterm exam will be held in class on 10/18/16. The final exam will be on 12/15/16, from 10:05 am to 12:05 pm.

Regrading requests

Requests for regrading due to grading errors must be submitted in writing to the TA within one week of the release of grades.

Late homework policy

Homework submitted late without permission will be penalized according to the following formula: (Penalized score) = (Your raw score) * (1 - 0.1 * (# of days past deadline))

This formula will apply for up to three days, after which the homework will not be accepted and you will receive a grade of zero. Avoid invoking these penalties by starting early and seeking extra help.

Grading scale

Based on the grading breakdown above, each student's final grade for the course will be determined by the final percentage of points earned. The grade ranges are as follows:

A 93.3%–100% A- 90.0%–93.3% B+ 86.6%–90.0% B 83.3%–86.6% B- 80.0%–83.3%
C+ 76.6%–80.0% C 73.3%–76.6% C- 70.0%–73.3% D+ 66.6%–70.0% D 63.3%–66.6% D- 60.0%–63.3% F 00.0%–60.0%

Academic integrity

The Undergraduate Honor Code pledge that each member of the university community agrees to abide by states: "As a Hokie, I will conduct myself with honor and integrity at all times. I will not lie, cheat, or steal, nor will I accept the actions of those who do."

Students enrolled in this course are responsible for abiding by the Honor Code. A student who has doubts about how the Honor Code applies to any assignment is responsible for obtaining specific guidance from the course instructor before submitting the assignment for evaluation. Ignorance of the rules does not exclude any member of the University community from the requirements and expectations of the Honor Code. For additional information about the Honor Code, please visit: https://www.honorsystem.vt.edu/

This course will have a zero-tolerance philosophy regarding plagiarism or other forms of cheating. Your homework assignments must be your own work, and any external source of code, ideas, or language must be cited to give credit to the original source. I will not hesitate to report incidents of academic dishonesty to the Office of the Undergraduate Honor System.

Course schedule

The course schedule is available at https://goo.gl/LI4zUX.

Click here for non-embedded version.


Some slides from the video lectures are available here.

The videos are linked off the schedule and available on this YouTube playlist

Disclaimer: This syllabus details the plans for the course, which are subject to change. I will make sure any changes are clearly announced and will always be intended for your benefit.