Foundations of Artificial Intelligence (FAI) Group
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Core Lecture: Artificial Intelligence


Organization. Lecturers: Prof. Joerg Hoffmann, and Prof. Wolfgang Wahlster.

The tutorials will be supervised by Dr. Alvaro Torralba, Maximilian Fickert, Daniel Gnad, and Marcel Steinmetz.

Successful participation in the course yields 9 ECTS. The course consists of oral lectures, 2*90 minutes per week, as well as exercises that will be supervised in tutorial groups (90 minutes/week). All lectures and tutorials will be held in English.

The lectures will normally be held Mondays 10:15--11:45 and Tuesdays 16:15--17:45, in Guenter-Hotz-Hoersaal (E2 2). There will be some exceptions, in day of the week, time, and/or place. Exact details will be made available in the "Course Calendar" below.

Registration for the course/exams is in HISPOS as usual (contact Evelyn Kraska in case of questions). Registration for the tutorials is via our Moodle pages (next item). For details regarding tutorials registration (and other organizational aspects of the course), see the "About this Course" slide handouts (Chapter 0) below. If you have difficulties registering, or wish to change tutorials, please send an email to Alvaro Torralba. Note that, for changing the tutorial group, you need a switching partner. You can try to find a switching partner via the "Students Forum" on the Moodle pages.

The lecture slides will be made available for download here, i.e., on this web page. By contrast, all exercises material and all interaction -- registration, announcements, technical discussions -- will be available and run through the FAI Moodle pages. Apart from the lecture slide publication, this web page here will remain fixed throughout the course. (For the curious amongst you: the lecture slides will be made available here, as opposed to the Moodle pages, so that people from outside Saarland university can access them as well.)


On our Moodle pages, you can login with your CS department account that you also use to login e.g. to the OwnCloud, GOGS, or possibly other Moodle pages (i.e. your official s8xyabcd username with the new password you got from the CS department). For most students that do not have, or are not aware of having, such an account, it should do to visit this webpage, and request a new password using your UdS eMail address. If you don't get an error message (e.g. "no user found"), you will receive a new password within a few minutes. If you have trouble with the login, contact Daniel Gnad.


Abstract. This course explores key concepts of Artificial Intelligence (AI), including formal knowledge representation, automated deduction, heuristic search algorithms, the automatic generation of heuristic functions in planning, reasoning under uncertainty, rule-based systems, and description logics. We will highlight how these concepts are used in several AI application-fields like spoken-dialog systems, expert systems, and intelligent network security. Upon completion of the course, students should be able to write Bachelor and Master theses in AI. This core lecture is also the prerequisite for advanced courses such as Automatic Planning, Intelligent User Interfaces, and Semantic Web. Interested students will have the unique opportunity to participate in exciting AI research projects at DFKI or in the FAI group.


Exercises. There will be two kinds of exercises, paper exercises and practical exercises. Each of the two kinds of exercises will be counted separately; each will have a seprate series of exercise sheets, and will have a separate maximum amount of points possible. To qualify for the exam, you need to obtain at least 50 points in each, paper exercises and practical exercises. (If you want to participate in future editions of this course, then you need to qualify anew; see also below.)

The paper exercises will involve applying the introduced concepts and algorithms to examples, and leading simple proofs. The paper exercise sheets will be handed out and submitted in a weekly cycle, i.e., in 1-week intervals. The submission deadline will be stated on each sheet. The first paper exercise sheet is handed out on May 9..

The practical exercises will consist of experimentation with off-the-shelf AI problem-solving formalisms and tools. On each exercise sheet, you will be given an example problem, and will be asked to model that problem in a particular formalism, and solve your model with an off-the-shelf tool. Your model will be checked manually by the tutors, and will be graded based on its correctness. The practical exercise sheets will be handed out and submitted in 2-week intervals. The submission deadline will be stated on each sheet. The first practical exercise sheet is handed out on May 23..

Students can form groups of up to 3 authors for the exercise solutions. All group members must be registered into the same tutorial group. Every student can be member of at most one group, i.e., the same group must address both the paper and the practical exercises.


Exam and final grade. There will be a written exam at the end of the course. The final grade will be determined based on the performance in the exam. A re-exam will be held beginning October.

Each exam counts as a separate attempt to pass the course. The re-exam is an opportunity to improve your grade, i.e., the better one of the two grades will count for your curriculum.

ATTENTION! The re-exam is your only chance to improve your grade.


Course Material. For most lectures, there will be two kinds of slides, pre-handouts and post-handouts. Pre-handouts do not contain the answers to questions asked during the lecture sessions, and do not contain the details for examples worked during the lecture sessions. The post-handouts do contain all this, and correct any bugs. The pre-handouts are made available one day before the lecture sessions on each chapter, the post-handouts are made available directly after the lecture sessions on a chapter are finished.

Most of the course follows the standard AI text book by Russel and Norvig (RN). HOWEVER, several chapters do NOT follow that book one-to-one, and some do not follow it at all. The ground truth throughout the course are the results as stated in the post-handouts. A few details about the relevant chapters of RN are given in the table at the end of this page, as well as at the end of each topic in the post-handouts.

The following table will provide the links to the hand-outs as the course progresses:

Chapter Title Dates Pre-Handouts Post-Handouts
0 About this Course Thu, 20.04.17 1 on 1, 4 on 1
Last change: Thu, 20.04.17
1 on 1, 4 on 1
Last change: Thu, 20.04.17
1 Introduction Mon, 24.04.17 (None) 1 on 1, 4 on 1
Last change: Mon, 24.04.17
2 General Problem Solving Mon, 24.04.17 (None) 1 on 1, 4 on 1
Last change: Mon, 24.04.17
3 Intelligent Agents Tue, 25.04.17 1 on 1, 4 on 1
Last change: Fri, 24.03.17
1 on 1, 4 on 1
Last change: Tue, 25.04.17
4 Classical Search, Part I: Basics, and Blind Search Tue, 02.05.17; Mon, 08.05.17 1 on 1, 4 on 1
Last change: Tue, 09.05.17
1 on 1, 4 on 1
Last change: Tue, 09.05.17
5 Classical Search, Part II: Informed Search Mon, 08.05.17; Tue, 09.05.17 1 on 1, 4 on 1
Last change: Mon, 15.05.17
1 on 1, 4 on 1
Last change: Mon, 15.05.17
6 Adversarial Search Mon, 15.05.17 1 on 1, 4 on 1
Last change: Mon, 22.05.17
1 on 1, 4 on 1
Last change: Mon, 22.05.17
7 Constraint Satisfaction Problems, Part I: Basics, and Naive Search Tue, 16.05.17 1 on 1, 4 on 1
Last change: Tue, 16.05.17
1 on 1, 4 on 1
Last change: Tue, 16.05.17
8 Constraint Satisfaction Problems, Part II: Inference, and Decomposition Methods Tue, 16.05.17; Mon, 22.05.17 1 on 1, 4 on 1
Last change: Fri, 24.03.17
1 on 1, 4 on 1
Last change: Mon, 22.05.17
9 Propositional Reasoning, Part I: Principles Tue, 23.05.17; Mon, 29.05.17 1 on 1, 4 on 1
Last change: Tue, 24.05.17
10 Propositional Reasoning, Part II: SAT Solvers Mon, 29.05.17; Tue, 30.05.17 1 on 1, 4 on 1
Last change: Sun, 28.05.17


Course Calendar. The Lecture slots and contents will be overviewed below.

ATTENTION: Lecture slots displayed in red in this table deviate from the regular lecture days/times.

Date Place Content Lecturer Material
Thu, 20.04.17, 16:15--17:45 Guenter-Hotz-Hoersaal About This Course Hoffmann None
Mon, 24.04.17 Guenter-Hotz-Hoersaal Introduction to AI; General Problem Solving Hoffmann Russel/Norvig Chapter 1; None
Tue, 25.04.17 Guenter-Hotz-Hoersaal Intelligent Agents Hoffmann Russel/Norvig Chapter 2 (Loosely followed)
Tue, 02.05.17 Guenter-Hotz-Hoersaal Classical Search Hoffmann Russel/Norvig Chapter 3 and parts of Chapter 4 (Loosely followed)
Mon, 08.05.17 Guenter-Hotz-Hoersaal Classical Search Hoffmann Russel/Norvig Chapter 3 and parts of Chapter 4 (Loosely followed)
Tue, 09.05.17 Guenter-Hotz-Hoersaal Classical Search; Adversarial Search Hoffmann Russel/Norvig Chapter 3 and parts of Chapter 4; Chapter 5 (Loosely followed)
Mon, 15.05.17 Guenter-Hotz-Hoersaal Adversarial Search Hoffmann Russel/Norvig Chapter 5 (Loosely followed)
Tue, 16.05.17 Guenter-Hotz-Hoersaal Constraint Satisfaction Problems Hoffmann Russel/Norvig Chapter 6 (Loosely followed)
Mon, 22.05.17 Guenter-Hotz-Hoersaal Constraint Satisfaction Problems Hoffmann Russel/Norvig Chapter 6 (Loosely followed)
Tue, 23.05.17 Guenter-Hotz-Hoersaal Propositional Reasoning Torralba Russel/Norvig Chapter 7 (Loosely followed)
Mon, 29.05.17 Guenter-Hotz-Hoersaal Propositional Reasoning Torralba Russel/Norvig Chapter 7 (Loosely followed)
Tue, 30.05.17 Guenter-Hotz-Hoersaal Propositional Reasoning Torralba Russel/Norvig Chapter 7 (Loosely followed)
Tue, 06.06.17 Guenter-Hotz-Hoersaal Predicate Logic Reasoning Hoffmann Russel/Norvig Chapters 8 and 9 (Loosely followed)
Wed, 07.06.17, 12:15--13:45 Guenter-Hotz-Hoersaal Predicate Logic Reasoning Hoffmann Russel/Norvig Chapters 8 and 9 (Loosely followed)
Fri, 09.06.17, 12:15--13:45 Guenter-Hotz-Hoersaal Predicate Logic Reasoning Hoffmann Russel/Norvig Chapters 8 and 9 (Loosely followed)
Mon, 12.06.17 Guenter-Hotz-Hoersaal Planning Torralba Does not follow Russel/Norvig (Chapter 10 can serve as general background)
Tue, 13.06.17 Guenter-Hotz-Hoersaal Planning Torralba Does not follow Russel/Norvig (Chapter 10 can serve as general background)
Mon, 26.06.17 Guenter-Hotz-Hoersaal Planning Hoffmann Does not follow Russel/Norvig (Chapter 10 can serve as general background)
Tue, 27.06.17 Guenter-Hotz-Hoersaal Planning Hoffmann Does not follow Russel/Norvig (Chapter 10 can serve as general background)
Mon, 03.07.17 Guenter-Hotz-Hoersaal Knowledge Representation Wahlster TBA
Wed, 05.07.17, 16:15--17:45 Guenter-Hotz-Hoersaal Terminological Logics Wahlster TBA
Mon, 10.07.17 Guenter-Hotz-Hoersaal Ontology Web Language Wahlster TBA
Wed, 12.07.17, 16:15--17:45 Guenter-Hotz-Hoersaal Production Rules Wahlster TBA
Mon, 17.07.17 Guenter-Hotz-Hoersaal Rete Algorithm, Default Reasoning Wahlster TBA
Tue, 18.07.17 Guenter-Hotz-Hoersaal Model Based Diagnosis Wahlster TBA
Mon, 24.07.17 Guenter-Hotz-Hoersaal Exam Preparation Hoffmann None
Mon 31.07.17, 10:00--12:30 Guenter-Hotz-Hoersaal and E1 3, HS002 Exam
Fri, 04.08.17, 14:00--16:00 Room 3.06, Building E1 1 Exam Inspection
Tue, 10.10.17, 10:00--12:30 Guenter-Hotz-Hoersaal and E1 3, HS002 Re-Exam
Fri, 13.10.17, 14:00--16:00 Room 3.06, Building E1 Re-Exam Inspection