Final Project in AI Programming

Laboratory Exercise 10


Artificial Intelligence Laboratory

[ Goals | Background | Pre-Lab | In-Lab | Post-Lab | More Info ]

Goals for the Laboratory Exercise

By the end of this lab exercise, you will have written a specification for your final AI lab project. This spec will describe the problem that you intend to study, the technique(s) that you intend to explore, the intended format of your final product, and a week-by-week schedule for your work.


We now turn our attention to individual projects. You now have several weeks' worth of experience with symbolic programming in Common LISP, with some exposure to applications in artificial intelligence. You also have seen several types of computation that programs might do in order to exhibit degrees of intelligence. Over the next six weeks or so, you will specify, study, implement, evaluate, demonstrate, and report on a (small) AI program of your own design.

Your exercise for this week is to prepare a specification for the system that you wish to build and a time table for your work. I ask you to be specific enough in your time table to make it a useful benchmark for measuring your progress, but not to over-plan what is likely to be an exploratory process.

Note that the final project is worth 40% of your final lab grade. Its ultimate presentation and execution will be held to a commensurate standard.

Some of you may be interested in working together on your final project. This is not only acceptable but also strongly encouraged. Two or three programmers working together will be able to tackle a larger (and thus more interesting) problem, and teamwork will likely lead to greater understanding for all participants. Be aware, though, that a project proposal from a group should be correspondingly more ambitious than a project proposal from a single student.

Lab Activities

Write a project specification document for your final project. You should proceed through each of the steps listed below during your writing, though perhaps not linearly. I am available for consultation and clarification whenever needed.

  1. Determine the problem that you will work on. If you would like to work with a partner, formalize that arrangement now.

  2. Decide what your final product will be. This should include a working AI program of some sort along with appropriate documentation. I require only that you submit your code and documentation in both printed and electronic form. The electronic version must be in plain text except for any compiled applications. (HTML is suitable plain text for a set of documents.)

  3. Identify the AI programming techniques that you will use. You may draw these from topics encountered in class or in the lab, or you may draw them from your own experiences and interests outside of the course. Identify any material in Graham's text or in some other source that you will need to read in order to implement your program.

  4. Specify a schedule for the remainder of the semester. Beginning next Wednesday, including the week of Thanksgiving, you have six weeks to complete the project. It is due at 4:00 PM on Monday, December 17. Your schedule should list for each week (1) a task or set of tasks to be accomplished and (2) a deliverable: a product, perhaps intermediate in nature, that you will submit by the corresponding Wednesday--or Tuesday, in the case of Thanksgiving week. We will take this schedule seriously, and I will use it as one basis for evaluating your project.

    Be sure that your schedule includes time for implementation of the program, evaluation of the results, and demonstration of the result to me. We will schedule demo times during the week of December 10 for you to present your software to me, and we may use part of our class time that week for short demos to the class.


By 4:00 PM on Wednesday, November 7, submit an e-mail message containing the URL for a web page devoted to your project.

By the same time, your page should have at least one link on it, a pointer to your project proposal. The proposal should include at least these items:

Each Wednesday, you will "submit" that week's entry in the week-by-week schedule of activities and deliverables by adding a link to a file that contains your deliverables due that week.

We will use your proposal as a guideline for evaluating your final product. In the case of a team project, please submit only one proposal.

Post-Lab Exercise

Get to work! Feel free to ask for clarification of anything in this lab as soon as possible.

Further Information

The "web page" format for submitting your project proposal and deliverables will make your project more accessible to a wider audience, especially other members of the AI lab and AI course. Used properly, the web page can serve both as a public portal for others to study your project and as a location via which you and your teammates communicate while working on the project.

If neither you nor any of your partners have ever created a web page before, I would be happy to provide you with some templates for simple document presentation. You could probably use the Lab Exercises web page as a template! (Choose to view the document source from your web browser, and then save the text to a file.) You will find that putting together a simple web site with a suite of simple pages is quite easy to do.

Eugene Wallingford ==== ==== October 30, 2001