CSCE 921, Spring 2013: Course Syllabus
1. General Information
Prereq: CSCE 421/821: Foundations of Constraint Processing.
Course description: This course is a continuation of the
course on Foundations of Constraint Processing (CSCE 421/821). It is
intended for students with some sophistication and considerable
interest in exploring methods for designing and using algorithms
useful for solving combinatorial problems. The goal of the course is
to study, analyzem and critique basic and current research papers.
Projects are optional. Topics may include (and are not restricted
Active class participation is an essential component of the course.
- Temporal reasoning,
- Symmetry and interchangeability,
- Spatial reasoning,
- Continuous CSPs,
- Distributed constraint satisfaction,
- Global constraints,
- Boolean SAT solving,
- Soft constraints,
- OR Methods in CP,
Lectures: Mondays and Wednesdays, from 3:30 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.
Location: Avery Hall, Room 109.
Make-up Class: To be scheduled as necessary
Instructor: Prof. Berthe Y. Choueiry
Office location: Room 360, Avery
choueiry AT cse.unl.edu, tel:
Office hours: Wednesdays/Fridays 1:30 p.m.-2:30
p.m. or by appointment.
Textbooks (check the bookstore):
Required: Constraints Processing, Rina Dechter, Morgan Kauffman, 2003.
Required: Handbook of Constraint Programming, Rossi et al., Editors, Elsevier, 2006.
Papers are available from the UNL libraries (electronic resources,
Math Library, etc.).
2. Contact Us
For a quick response, please use Piazza for all communications.
You may also choose to drop a note in the Anonymous Suggestion
3. Protocol of the Course
This course syllabus is our 'contract' and we will abide by it.
The course consists of a few lectures by the instructor and many
presentations by the students in the class. The topics of the
discussions will cover:
- Study of selective chapters of the Handbook of Constraint
Programming by Rossi et al.
- Study of selective chapters of the book Constraint Processing by
- Discussions of technical papers.
- Collaboration and discussion within and outside the classroom
strongly encouraged unless specified (e.g., for occasional
assignments, quizzes, or riddles).
- Required and recommended reading (as indicated in the Class schedule)
- Occasionally, programming, theoretical, and library-search
- An in-class presentation by a student (the speaker).
- A class discussion of the student's presentation: minimum of two
comments/questions by each other student in class.
- Evaluation of the student's presentation by each other student in
- Scribing of the student's presentation and the class discussion
by another student in the class (the scribe).
- Evaluation of the scribe's notes by each other student in the
There will be surprise quizzes throughout the semester (with a
frequency inversely proportional to students' attendance).
Quizzes will address any material covered during the lectures
and/or appearing in the required reading. No books or
personal notes are allowed during the quizzes, unless explicitly
specified. Quizzes cannot be made up.
No tests are planned for the course, and none will be given unless
requested by students. Either a midterm or a final exam to individual
students can be offered upon request. No books or personal notes are
allowed during the exam, unless explicitly specified. Please inform
the instructor within before the end of January, 2013.
- Attendance is mandatory. Only three absences, with advanced
notification, are allowed. Missing more than three lectures may
be a cause for failing the course.
- Students are responsible for the material covered and
announcements (such as lists of terms for glossary) made during the
- Also, there will be surprise quizzes during the regular
- Bonuses will be awarded to students who attend all lectures,
interact lively, and participate in discussion in class.
Some communications with the class will be carried over email. It is
the students responsibility to ensure that their email account on
cse.unl.edu is working properly.
Discussions among students and with instructor are encouraged.
Homework however are a strictly individual activity: no
sharing is permitted (unless when specified by instructor).
Unethical behavior will be heavily
sanctioned (e.g., a null grade on the task).
- Always acknowledge any help received from other
Always fully reference material used (e.g.,
encyclopedia, book, paper, journal, web site).
4. Grading Policy
Students will be able to 'compose' their grade, for up to 85% of the
total grade, from the following menu:
The remaining 15% are allocated as follows:
- Presentation of a research paper by a student: 20%. Grade will be
given by instructor taking into account class evaluation.
- Scribing of a discussion or a paper presentation: 5%.
A student takes notes of an entire presentation and the discussion of
a topic. (Potentially, one student helps the scribe for 2%.) The
class criticizes and rates the notes of the scribe. Grade will be
given by instructor taking into account class evaluation.
- A critical summary of a research paper: 5%.
- Evaluation of each student presentation and each scribe notes: +1%.
A non-informative evaluation is graded 0%.
Failure to submit an evaluation in time is penalized with -1%.
- Project (programming): 30%
- Term paper: 25%.
- One optional exam: 25%.
Surprise quizzes (mainly) and assignments (minimal): 10%.
- Class interaction and participation in discussions are
(subjectively) evaluated for 5% of the total grade.
How to Secure a Good Final Grade
- Attendance: A bonus will be awarded to students who attend all lectures.
- Additional work: Closely monitor your grade. If you feel that
your grade is slipping, contact the instructor immediately. We may be
able to assign to you an additional task to put you back on the right
Main publication venues
Books on Reserve at the Math Library in Avery:
- Constraint Processing, Rina Dechter
- Foundations of Constraint Satisfaction by Edward Tsang.
- Many other AI books.
Academic Research Groups & Research Centers
Industrial companies and start-ups COSYTEC, I2 Technologies, Red Pepper
(PeopleSoft, Oracle), Blue Pumpkin (now Verint), Ilog (now IBM), Trilogy, Parc
Technologies Ltd (now CISCO), Carmen Systems (now Jeppesen), Firepond, On Time Systems Inc.,
Last modified: Tue Jan 8 10:49:03 CST 2013