CSCE476/876, Spring 2016: Course Syllabus

1. General Information

Prereq: CSCE310, Data structures and algorithms or permission

Course description: Introduction to the basic principles, techniques and tools now being used in the area of computational. Lecture topics will include problem solving, knowledge representation and reasoning, search, expert systems, and planning and action. More advanced topics may be included depending on class interests and performance. Programming will be done in Common Lisp using Allegro Common Lisp (ACL) and its programming environment.

Lectures: Monday, Wednesday, Friday, from 3:30 p.m. to 4:20 p.m.
Location: Avery Hall, Room 106.

Make-up Class/Recitation: Monday from 5:00 p.m. to 5:50 p.m.
Location: Avery Hall, Room 21.

Instructor:   Prof.  Berthe Y. Choueiry
      Office location: Room 360, Avery Hall,
      Office hours: Wednesday / Friday 4:30pm-5:30pm or by appointment.

TA:   Grad TA Robert Woodward

      Office location: Room 123D, Avery Hall
      Office hours: @ Student Resource Center on Thursdays 10:00am--noon or by appointment.

Textbooks (check the bookstore):

2. Communications

3. Protocol of the Course

This course syllabus is our 'contract' and we will abide by it.

The course consists of lectures by the instructor, 3 times per week.


Required and recommended reading (as indicated in the Class schedule)

AIMA (textbook) will be followed in a more or less linear fashion.  The content of the course will be dynamically adapted to students performance. Chapters to be studied may encompass:  Chapter: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 (partially), 7, 9, and 10 (quickly) and, time permitting, 11, 13, and/or 14. Sections from these and other chapters may be dropped or added during the course.  Regularly check the class schedule.

Programming, theoretical, and library-search assignments

Surprise quizzes

There will be surprise quizzes throughout the semester  (with a frequency inversely proportional to students'  attendance).  Quizzes will address allmaterial 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.



Attendance is not mandatory. But students are responsible for the material covered and announcements (such as lists of terms for glossary) made during the class. Also, there will be surprise quizzes during the regular class and the recitation.
Bonuses will be awarded to students who attend all lectures, interact lively, and participate in discussion in class.


4. Grading Policy

Grade Distribution

Grade Conversion



[94, 97[


[90, 94[


[87, 90[


[84, 87[


[80, 84[


[75, 80[


[67, 75[


[60, 67[


[57, 60[


[54, 57[


[51, 53[




4. How to Secure a Good Final Grade


A bonus will be awarded to students who attend all lectures.


For every topic, a list of important terms will be given in a glossary. Students should be able to formally define these terms. A few of these terms will be selected at random and put on each quiz towards a glossary bonus. The glossary bonus is tracked separately from the quiz grade, and is credited for up to 8% bonus of the final grade. It is computed proportionally to the terms answered correctly of all of the bonus terms asked. Note that some important terms might also be asked for regular credit on the quiz.

Rules for glossary

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 track.

5. Department and University Policies

The Student Resource Center is located in Avery 13A. It is a valuable place to go for general CSE related issues.

It is CSE Department policy that all students in CSE courses are expected to regularly check their email so they do not miss important announcements.

All homework assignments, quizzes, exams, etc. must be your own work. No direct collaboration with fellow students, past or current, is allowed unless otherwise stated. The Computer Science & Engineering department has an Academic Integrity Policy. All students enrolled in any computer science course are bound by this policy. You are expected to read, understand, and follow this policy. Violations will be dealt with on a case by case basis and may result in a failing assignment or a failing grade for the course itself.

The CSE Department has an anonymous suggestion box that you may use to voice your concerns about any problems in the course or department if you do not wish to be identified.

Students with disabilities are encouraged to contact the instructor or teaching assistant for a confidential discussion of their individual needs for academic accommodation. It is the policy of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to provide flexible and individualized accommodations to students with documented disabilities that may affect their ability to fully participate in course activities or to meet course requirements. To receive accommodation services, students must be registered with the Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) office, 132 Canfield Administration, 472-3787 voice or TTY.

6. Books on Reserve at the Math Library in Avery


Artificial Intelligence, A Modern Approach (AIMA), by Russell Norvig. Second Edition.
Artificial Intelligence, 3rd Edition.  Winston. ISBN 0201533774.
Essentials of Artificial Intelligence. Ginsberg. ISBN 1-558s60-22-6.  Call number Q335.G55 1993.
Artificial Intelligence: A New Synthesis. Nilsson. ISBN 1-55860-535-5. Call number Q335.N496 1998.
Paradigms of Artificial Intelligence Programming. Norvig. ISBN 1-55860-191-0. Call number QA76.6.N687.
Artificial Intelligence. Structures and Strategies for Complex Problem Solving. Luger and Stubblefield


Common Lisp, The Language, Second Edition. Guy L. Steele, Jr. Digital Press, ISBN: 1555580416
LISP, 3rd Edition. Winston & Horn. ISBN 0-201-08319-1.
ANSI Common Lisp; Graham. ISBN 0-13-370875-6.
Paradigms of Artificial Intelligence Programming. Norvig. ISBN 1-55860-191-0. Call number QA76.6.N687.
Object Oriented Common Lisp. Slade. ISBN 0-13-605940-6 Call number QA76.64 .S576

Other Topics

Foundations of Constraint Satisfaction by Edward Tsang.
A mathematical introduction to logic by Enderton, Herbert B, CALL NO. QA9 .E54 1972.

7. Other (AI) References

The MIT Encyclopedia of the Cognitive Sciences, call number BF311 .M556 1999, LIB USE ONLY.
Encyclopedia of artificial intelligence, 1992, SECOND EDITION,call number Q335 .E53, LIB USE ONLY.
Section on "General AI Information" in "AI Resources."
Dictionary of Algorithms, Data Structures, and Problems
Online resources (wikipedia) and web search engines (Google, Altavista, etc.)

8. Online Resources

On-line tutorials

Common Lisp Educational Resources.
Colin Allen & Maneesh Dhagat Lisp Primer
Online Tutorial to Common Lisp , Adaptive Remote Tutor.
(Link obsolete) A few good examples on how to create and manipulate classes.  Catch of Jason Steele (Spring'2000).


Common Lisp, The Language, Second Edition. Guy L. Steele, Jr. Digital Press, ISBN: 1555580416, also on Reserve at the Math Library.
Allegro Common Lisp (ACL) online documentation. Slow (local on cse: Introduction, Contents, Index). Quicker (link to Franz's web page Introduction).
Usenet newsgroup: comp.lang.lisp
Contributed by Eric Moss (S02): Parenthetically Speaking (with Kent M. Pitman)
Free copy of Allegro Common Lisp by Franz Inc.
David Cooper Jr.: Understanding Common Lisp (Basic Lisp techniques, PDF document).
Successful Lisp: How to Understand and Use Common Lisp, by David B. Lamkins
COMMON LISP: An Interactive Approach, by Stuart C. Shapiro
Common Lisp: A Gentle Introduction to Symbolic Computation, by David S. Touretzky
LISP FAQ by  Mark Kantrowitz.
... and much more from the Association of Lisp Users' page.

Finally, a touch of poetry: Only LISP Can Make a Tree.

Last modified: Mon Jan 5 15:00:00 CDT 2016