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Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach (3rd edition – 2009)
Stuart Russell and Peter Norvig

This assignment is based on the first two chapters of Russell & Norvig's Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach (aka, “AIMA”).

As I have previously described it, this book is “by far the best AI text.”

Still, books are expensive and I understand that people don't like buying expensive things that they may not use. Also, Thrun and Norvig have indicated that the text is not required for the Stanford AI course.

Therefore, I am not requiring its purchase. This week’s assignment may be completed using Amazon’s live preview of the book.

However, this really is a great text, and if you have a serious interest in AI you should consider buying a copy.

The book is presently in its 3rd edition, and the 2nd edition is still very good. Last year at this time, copies were going for about $25. Now, they're $50 (alibris; amazon; bookfinder).

The 3rd edition hard-copy new on Amazon is $116 or it's $64 for the Kindle edition.

So, it's up to you.

1. Read Chapter 1 of AIMA, “Introduction.”

Discuss as follows:

  • Of the Foundations of AI section (1.2), which of the eight subsections most intrigues you, and why? The topics are, from 1.2.[1-8]: philosophy, mathematics, economics, neuroscience, psychology, computer engineering, control theory and cybernetics, and linguistics. Write about 400-500 words here. (In case it isn't evident, there is no right answer; I am interested in your personal motivations.)
  • In the History of AI section (1.3), pick one historical invention discussed in the text, and find an original source document about it (e.g., a research paper). Then, write ~500 words discussing the innovation and how the author(s) perceived its significance at the time. Give a full citation to the source document after the essay.

2. Read Chapter 2 of AIMA, “Intelligent Agents.”

The agent-centric model of AI is an approach developed by Russell and Norvig as an organizing theme for their book. It's a pretty useful framework.

  • Think of a real-world, in-practice application of AI that you're personally interested in. Describe it in enough detail that a reader can understand it. Then, indicate which of the agent variants is mostly likely involved in its implementation, and argue why you think this is the case. (Russell and Norvig's agents are: simple reflex agents, model-based reflex agents, goal-based agents, utility-based agents, and learning agents.)
For example, one could argue that the original model Roomba vacuum cleaner is a simple reflex agent. (Now you can't pick this for your example.)
Write ~500 words on this, including both your explanation of the AI system and your justification for why it's likely to be whichever agent you select.

3. To submit

Concatenate your three individual essays into one file (per guidelines, txt doc or pdf). Submit this along with the original source document you found from the second Chapter 1 (History of AI) essay.

submit fredm ai-ps4 username-is-filename.txt research-article.pdf