Fall 2017 Artificial Intelligence: Course Policies

Course Outcomes

  • Explain the different informed and uninformed search techniques, types of heuristics and when optimality is achieved.
  • Solve constrained satisfaction using guaranteed and heuristic methods.
  • Implement alpha-beta pruning to solve min-max games; design good evaluation functions and optimize search time using a variety of methods to increase speed of search.
  • Design and implement algorithms to learn hidden Markov models.
  • Utilize reinforced learning to discover patterns in data and make informed decisions.


The course reading will be from the textbook Artificial Intelligence A Modern Approach.  We will be doing the readings online using the website Perusall, so you should not purchase the text unless you want to pay for both online and print versions.  The readings need to be completed before the class where the topic will be discussed.  You will need a code for access to the Perusall site that you will obtain in class.  To receive full credit for the readings you must participate in the discussions for each reading.  An average of 1.5 points per reading will result in full credit.


There will be ungraded homework assignments each week.  These will provide opprotunities to practice various types of problems in preparation for quizzes and exams.  Solutions for these problems will be discussed in class.


Their will be weekly quizzes.  Approximately half of each quiz will come from recent homework problems (possibly with minor modifications).  The lowest 10% of scores will be dropped.  Makeups for quizzes will not be given except under extreme situations.

Programming Contests

The main products you will be producing in this course are entries into four different programming contests.  You will be competing against your classmates and the intrsutors reference implementations.  These will include a solver for the 15 puzzle, bots to play the games Pente and Backgammon and a bot to capture the ghosts in a Pacman variant.  During the two weeks leading up to each of these contests, there will be online tests servers running with class rankings.  You are expected to submit early and often.  The in-class finals are tentatively scheduled for

15 Puzzle September 15
Pente October 13
Ghostbusting November 10
Backgammon December 8


There will be a midterm and final covering the written material in the class.  The midterm is tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, October 18.  The final will be Monday, December 18, 8:00-9:50.

Grade calculations

The breakdown of grades is as follows.

Reading 10%
Quizzes 10%
Contests 50%
Midterm 10%
Final 20%

Total scores of at least 70%, 80% and 90% will ensure you receive at least a C-, B-, or A- in the course, respectively.

Academic Integrity Syllabus Statement

Academic integrity is honest, truthful and responsible conduct in all academic endeavors. The mission of Saint Louis University is "the pursuit of truth for the greater glory of God and for the service of humanity." Accordingly, all acts of falsehood demean and compromise the corporate endeavors of teaching, research, health care, and community service via which SLU embodies its mission. The University strives to prepare students for lives of personal and professional integrity, and therefore regards all breaches of academic integrity as matters of serious concern.

The governing University-level Academic Integrity Policy was adopted in Spring 2015, and can be accessed on the Provost's Office website here

Additionally, each SLU College, School, and Center has adopted its own academic integrity policies, available on their respective websites. All SLU students are expected to know and abide by these policies, which detail definitions of violations, processes for reporting violations, sanctions, and appeals. Please direct questions about any facet of academic integrity to your faculty, the chair of the department of your academic program, or the Dean/Director of the College, School or Center in which your program is housed.

Specific College of Arts and Sciences Academic Honesty Policies and Procedures may be found here

Title IX Syllabus Statement

Saint Louis University and its faculty are committed to supporting our students and seeking an environment that is free of bias, discrimination, and harassment. If you have encountered any form of sexual misconduct (e.g. sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, domestic or dating violence), we encourage you to report this to the University. If you speak with a faculty member about an incident of misconduct, that faculty member must notify SLU's Title IX coordinator, Anna R. Kratky (DuBourg Hall, room 36; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; 314-977-3886) and share the basic fact of your experience with her. The Title IX coordinator will then be available to assist you in understanding all of your options and in connecting you with all possible resources on and off campus.

If you wish to speak with a confidential source, you may contact the counselors at the University Counseling Center at 314-977-TALK. To view SLU's sexual misconduct policy and for resources, please visit the following website.

Student Success Center Syllabi Statements

In an effort to be inclusive of students' learning styles and needs with regard to academic support, the following statement has been developed for use in course syllabi which identifies resources for student support in various areas of learning. As faculty members construct their syllabi for future courses, it is requested that they update materials to include new language regarding academic and career related support offered to students through the Student Success Center.

The syllabus statement will be available throughout the year by visiting the following websites, but we encourage you to place these resources on any departmental websites you feel necessary:

  • Student Success Center: www.slu.edu/success
  • Reinert Center for Transformative Teaching & Learning: www.slu.edu/cttl

Student Success Center Syllabus Statement

In recognition that people learn in a variety of ways and that learning is influenced by multiple factors (e.g., prior experience, study skills, learning disability), resources to support student success are available on campus. The Student Success Center, a one-stop shop, which assists students with academic and career related services, is located in the Busch Student Center (Suite, 331) and the School of Nursing (Suite, 114). Students who think they might benefit from these resources can find out more about:

  • Course-level support (e.g., faculty member, departmental resources, etc.) by asking your course instructor.
  • University-level support (e.g., tutoring services, university writing services, disability services, academic coaching, career services, and/or facets of curriculum planning) by visiting the Student Success Center or by going to www.slu.edu/success.


Disability Services Academic Accommodations Syllabus Statement

Students with a documented disability who wish to request academic accommodations are encouraged to contact Disability Services to discuss accommodation requests and eligibility requirements. Please contact Disability Services, located within the Student Success Center, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 314.977.3484 to schedule an appointment. Confidentiality will be observed in all inquiries. Once approved, information about academic accommodations will be shared with course instructors via email from Disability Services and viewed within Banner via the instructor's course roster.