Artificial Intelligence has become pervasive in our society. The goal of this course is to impart some understanding of how AI works, i.e., to introduce the basic concepts, algorithms and technology underlying systems that employ AI in service of society's needs. The course objectives are to learn the fundamental theories, algorithms and representational structures underlying artificial intelligence. Class discussions will range from algorithm fundamentals to philosophical issues in Artificial Intelligence.

Lecture / instructor

Lecture: 2-3:15pm TR, Clark A103
Instructor: Asa Ben-Hur
Email:See contact page
Office Location:COMSC 448
Office Hours:Tuesday 3:30-4:30pm; Thursday 11-noon

Graduate Teaching Assistants

Ameni Trabelsi
Office Location: COMSC 120A
Office Hours:Monday 2-3pm, Thursday 8-10am, Friday 3-4pm

Sadaf Ghaffari
Office Location: COMSC 120A
Office Hours:Monday 1-2pm, 3-4pm Wednesday 1-3pm


CS320 - Algorithms, theory and practice.

Textbook and materials

Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach, third edition by Stuart Russell and Peter Norvig. Speech and Language Processing by Dan Jurafsky and James H. Martin.

Piazza (Required for announcements, but optional for posting questions): We will be using Piazza for class discussions. The system is highly catered to getting you help fast and efficiently from classmates, teaching assistants, and the instructor. Rather than emailing questions to the teaching staff, we encourage you to post your questions on Piazza.
Piazza does not cost anything to students or the department. It allows students to post questions and get answers about programming assignments, class materials and logistics. We expect to post clarifications about assignments as well as answering questions relating to assignments. There are a number of things that we prohibit on Piazza, as follows:
  • Please do not post any of your assignment code on Piazza.
  • No profanity, sexism, racism, or anything in bad taste, of course!


Here are the formally graded elements of the course and associated weighting:

Activity Weight
Programming Assignments (5-6) 45 %
Project 25 %
Midterm 20 %
Canvas Quizzes 10 %

Semester grades are determined by the weighted sum of points earned in each of these areas.
The calculation of the final letter grade will be made as follows: A: 90 - 100% B: 80 - 89.9% C: 70 - 79.9% D: 60 - 69.9% F: below 60%
These ranges for a letter grade might be shifted a little lower, but will not be raised. Your weighted average of score on the exam must be ≥60% to receive a passing grade (C) in this course.

Exams and homework assignments will be done individually.

Academic integrity

Please review the CSU Honor Pledge and adhere to it.

Late and Makeup Policy

Midterm and Final: Make-up exams are only given in extraordinary circumstances (e.g., illness, family emergency). Students must consult with the instructor as soon as possible, preferably before the start of the exam. Course examination dates are listed in the syllabus; be aware of them and plan accordingly.

Assignments: Unless otherwise specified, assignments are to be submitted electronically through Canvas. Specifics will be included in each assignment. Always check the assignment page for due dates. Late assignments submitted within 48 hours of the time required will receive a 10% late penalty. Electronic submission is closed 48 hours after assignments are due; students not having submitted programs receive an automatic zero on the assignment.

Important Dates

MidtermOctober 10th
End of course withdrawal ("W") period Oct 21st

The midterm will be held in class.

Professional Conduct

All students are expected to conduct themselves professionally. We (the instructors and GTAs) assume you are familiar with the policies in the student information sheet for the department. Additionally, you are computing professionals, albeit perhaps just starting. You should be familiar with the code of conduct for the primary professional society, ACM. You can read the ACM Code of Conduct HERE.

We work to maintain an environment supportive of learning in the classroom and laboratory. Towards that end, we require that you be courteous to and respectful of your fellow participants (i.e., classmates, instructors, GTAs and any tutors). In particular:

  • Please turn off the ring on your cell phone. If you are expecting an emergency call, sit near the door and slide out discretely to take it.
  • In class use of electronic devices in general, and laptops specifically, is permitted as a courtesy so that you may better participate and learn. If at any time the instructor judges that an electronic device is becoming a distraction the student may be asked to to turn it off and put it away.