Course workload and attendance
You must attend the TTh lectures at 9:25 am. Help outside of class hours is available on piazza. You should expect to work about 8-10 hours per week for this class, including lecture time.
For comp440, your course grade will be based on assignments (30%), two exams (20% each), term project (15%), and in-class participation and quizzes (15%).
For comp557, your course grade will be based on assignments (30%), two exams (20% each), term project (15%), in-class participation and quizzes (15%). You will solve additional required problems in each problem set.
Lecture material (PDFs of powerpoint slides used in class) is available in the Files section of Canvas. Assignments and quizzes will be posted under Assignments in Canvas.
Course reference material
The required textbook for the class is Artificial Intelligence: A Modern approach, 3rd edition. We will also draw on material from online sources. I will provide URLs to all the online resources we draw upon in the Resources section of this website.
The purpose of the assignments is to train you to solve problems and to help deepen your understanding of concepts introduced in class.
- There will be seven assignments through the semester. Assignments include both written problem sets as well as programming exercises. Due dates and times for the assignments are specified in the course schedule.
All work is to be turned in on Canvas before the due date/time. Work is worth full credit when turned in on time.
Because each of you will probably come upon some time during the semester where so much work piles up that you need a little extra time, every student begins the semester with two free “late days.” After your two late days are exhausted, assignments that come in late (up to a maximum of three days) will be assessed a late penalty of 10% of your score per late day.
You should think of the two free “late days” as extensions you have been granted ahead of time, and use them when you might have otherwise tried to ask for an extension. As a result, getting an extension beyond the two free “late days” will generally not be granted. In very special circumstances for which you need to provide official documentation (primarily extended medical problems or other emergencies), extensions may be granted beyond the late days. All extension requests must be directed to me (firstname.lastname@example.org), no later than 24 hours before the assignment is due.
Graded work will be returned a week after the official due date. No submissions will be accepted one week after the due date.
The role of the weekly quizzes is to give you rapid feedback on your understanding of the concepts covered that week. A few of the quizzes are timed and typically range from 30 minutes to an hour.
All course related discussions and questions should be posted on piazza. Please do not send personal email to me or to the TAs — piazza is the fastest way to get a response from us and from the class community. Piazza allows you to ask questions in private as well as anonymously. We request you not to post code or answers to homework or programming assignments on piazza. If you are having difficulty with a programming assignment and need to show the teaching assistants your code, please make your piazza post on it private.
Pacwar is an exciting problem and has always been the highlight of the comp440 experience at Rice. We have a reigning pacmite champion (which was created in 2000 and closely recreated in 2016) and I hope you will all create mites that give this long-reigning champion a run for the money! All resources for the Pacwar project are available from the Assignments tab above.
There will be two in-class examinations: the midterm and the final. The midterm examination will be held on October 5, 2017 from 7 pm to 10 pm. If you have a conflict with that time or day, you can take the exam earlier on October 4 during a three hour period between 9 am and 4 pm. The final exam will be held at a time and place scheduled by the registrar during the finals period. It will be a three hour examination.
Grading and Regrades
Grades and other performance statistics will be posted on Canvas. If
you believe we have made an error in grading your homework or exams,
please bring the matter to our attention within one week. No makeup
exams will be given.
A laptop should suffice for all the work in this class. All required software will will be available from the Modules tab on this page. For the chatbot project for comp557 students, please sign up for a freee student account on Amazon AWS.
(adapted from Mehran Sahami’s course)
We take the Honor Code very seriously. The work you submit for this class is expected to be the result of your own work or work with your partner for homeworks and programming assignments. Attempting to take credit for someone else’s work by turning it in as your own constitutes plagiarism, as defined by our own Honor Code.
You are allowed to discuss course material and general approaches to problems with your other classmates, the teaching assistant and the professor, but you should never misrepresent someone else’s work as your own.
You must indicate at the top of your homework submission any assistance you have received. Name the people you received help from, and indicate what kind of help you received. It is your responsibility to make sure that the assistance you receive does not cross the boundary into having someone else write code for you.
If you use any material from online sources, you must provide the URL as well as an explanation of the value you have added to the referenced work. More on how to provide proper attribution to online work is shown here. Also see Rice University’s policy on citing sources.
You must not share code with others. In particular, you should not ask anyone to give you a copy of their code or, conversely, give your code to another student who asks you for it. Similarly, you should not discuss your strategies to such an extent that you and your collaborators end up turning in exactly the same code. Discuss ideas together, but do the coding on your own.
You must not look at solution sets or code from other years or semesters. Here is the reason for this rule. Developing a good programming assignment often takes years. When a new assignment is created, it invariably has problems that require a certain amount of polishing. To make sure that the assignments are as good as they can be, we, like most other schools in the country, reuse assignments over the years, incorporating changes each time to make them more effective. Submitting code that solves last year’s assignment perfectly while failing to solve the current one would be a particularly damaging situation for you.
Whenever you seek help on an assignment, your goal should be to improve your level of understanding and not simply getting your code to work. Suppose, for example, that someone responds to your request for help by showing you a couple of lines of code that do the job. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking about that code as if it were a magical incantation—something you simply include in your solution and don’t have to understand. By doing so, you will be in no position to solve similar problems on exams. You should be prepared to explain any part of your assignment to your teaching assistant or professor.
Students with Disabilities
Any student with a documented disability needing academic adjustments or accommodations is requested to contact me (email@example.com) during the first two weeks of class. All discussions will remain confidential. Students with disabilities will need to also contact Disability Support Services in the Ley Student Center.