CMSC 828Y: Human-Level Artificial Intelligence


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Mon-Wed, 5:00-6:15pm
CSIC 2107
Instructor: D. Perlis (perlis@cs.umd.edu)
Office hours: Tues 3:30-5:30pm, AVW 3253

This will be a seminar-style class, with a mix of lectures, readings, discussions, short essays, student presentations, and possibly quizzes. The aim is to gain familiarity with some current issues in the attempt to characterize (and build) general human-level cognition (aka commonsense/everyday reasoning/behavior) in information-processing/robotic terms (and machines). Ideas will be culled from philosophy, psychology, neuroscience, and linguistics, as well as from computer science. It is anticipated that we will be able to bring humanoid robots to class one or more times.

Specific topics will be determined in the initial class periods, based largely on student backgrounds and interests.

Familiarity with first-order logic will be very useful.



Writing assignments: Each student will be expected to write two short essays (2-3 pages, 1000-1500 words), due on dates to be announced. Each such essay will be on a topic chosen from a list that I will provide. In exceptional cases, you may include quotations in your essays, but these cannot amount to more than 20% of each essay (and in most cases should be far less, or absent altogether); and the rest must be your own ideas and analyses (not mere light re-wordings of what you have read). Moreover, each essay will be graded on how well it explains the topic, not simply whether it accurately condenses what you have read. (A good rule of thumb to use in writing an essay is this: ask yourself what you would want someone to tell you about it, so that you'd have a decent sense of what it is about and what some of the major issues are concerning it.)

Presentations: Students will present their essays in class, well after they have been turned in and posted online for the class to read.

Quizzes: There will be a few brief (probably unannounced) quizzes, to ensure that students come to class prepared to discuss assigned readings.

Piazza: Each student must sign up for the Piazza facility for this course.