University of Waterloo

Term and Year of Offering: Winter 2020

Course Number and Title: CS486, Introduction to Artificial Intelligence

Section Lecture Time Room Instructor
LEC 001 4:00-5:20 TTh MC 2038 Jesse Hoey
LEC 002 11:30-12:50 TTh RCH 307 Jesse Hoey

Instructor's Name Office Location Contact Office Hours
Jesse Hoey DC3613 Mondays 1pm-2pm in DC2584

TA's Name Office Location Contact Office Hours
Ehsan Ganjidoost
Joshua Jung
Shushant Agarwal
Charupriya Shama
Kyle Tilbury
Ethan Ward
Allen Wang

Course Description:

This course introduces students to the fundamental problems of artificial intelligence and the basic models and algorithms used to tackle these problems. Students examine frontier areas of computer science and gain knowledge that will allow them to further their studies in artificial intelligence.

Course Objectives:

At the end of the course, students should be able to

Course Overview:

  • What is AI?
  • Agents and Abstraction
  • States and Searching
  • Features and Constraints
  • Propositions and Inference
  • Reasoning under uncertainty
  • Supervised Learning
  • Planning under certainty
  • Planning under uncertainty
  • Machine Learning
  • Neural Networks
  • Deep Learning
  • Affective Computing
  • Other topics
  • Required text:

    David Poole and Alan Mackworth "Artificial Intelligence: foundations of computational agents". Cambridge University Press, 2010. Available online at



    CS686 (graduate students only):

    Late and Missed Assignments Policy:

    No late assignments

    Rules for Group Work:

    No group work is allowed for any assignment. Small groups (at most 3 people) can work on the project together (CS486 only)

    Assignment Submission and Pickup:

    Assignments are to be submitted and marked via Learn.

    Mental Health Resources

    Mental Health: If you or anyone you know experiences any academic stress, difficult life events, or feelings like anxiety or depression, we strongly encourage you to seek support.

    On-campus Resources

    Off-campus Resources

    Diversity: It is our intent that students from all diverse backgrounds and perspectives be well served by this course, and that students' learning needs be addressed both in and out of class. We recognize the immense value of the diversity in identities, perspectives, and contributions that students bring, and the benefit it has on our educational environment. Your suggestions are encouraged and appreciated. Please let us know ways to improve the effectiveness of the course for you personally or for other students or student groups. In particular:

    Academic Integrity

    Academic Integrity: In order to maintain a culture of academic integrity, members of the University of Waterloo community are expected to promote honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility. [Check for more information.]

    Grievance: A student who believes that a decision affecting some aspect of his/her university life has been unfair or unreasonable may have grounds for initiating a grievance. Read Policy 70, Student Petitions and Grievances, Section 4. When in doubt please be certain to contact the department's administrative assistant who will provide further assistance.

    Discipline: A student is expected to know what constitutes academic integrity [check] to avoid committing an academic offence, and to take responsibility for his/her actions. A student who is unsure whether an action constitutes an offence, or who needs help in learning how to avoid offences (e.g., plagiarism, cheating) or about 'rules' for group work/collaboration should seek guidance from the course instructor, academic advisor, or the undergraduate Associate Dean. For information on categories of offences and types of penalties, students should refer to Policy 71, Student Discipline. For typical penalties check Guidelines for the Assessment of Penalties.

    Appeals: A decision made or penalty imposed under Policy 70 (Student Petitions and Grievances) (other than a petition) or Policy 71 (Student Discipline) may be appealed if there is a ground. A student who believes he/she has a ground for an appeal should refer to Policy 72, Student Appeals.

    MOSS (Measure of Software Similarities) is used in this course as a means of comparing students' assignments to ensure academic integrity. We will report suspicious activity, and penalties for plagiarism/cheating are severe. Please read the available information about academic integrity very carefully.

    Discipline cases involving any automated marking system such as Marmoset or MarkUs include, but are not limited to, printing or returning values in order to match expected test results rather than making an actual reasonable attempt to solve the problem as required in the assignment question specification.

    Note for Students with Disabilities: AccessAbility Services, located in Needles Hall, Room 1401, collaborates with all academic departments to arrange appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities without compromising the academic integrity of the curriculum. If you require academic accommodations to lessen the impact of your disability, please register with AccessAbility Services at the beginning of each academic term.

    Intellectual Property: Students should be aware that this course contains the intellectual property of their instructor, TA, and/or the University of Waterloo. Intellectual property includes items such as:

    Course materials and the intellectual property contained therein, are used to enhance a student's educational experience. However, sharing this intellectual property without the intellectual property owner's permission is a violation of intellectual property rights. For this reason, it is necessary to ask the instructor, TA and/or the University of Waterloo for permission before uploading and sharing the intellectual property of others online (e.g., to an online repository).

    Permission from an instructor, TA or the University is also necessary before sharing the intellectual property of others from completed courses with students taking the same/similar courses in subsequent terms/years. In many cases, instructors might be happy to allow distribution of certain materials. However, doing so without expressed permission is considered a violation of intellectual property rights.

    Please alert the instructor if you become aware of intellectual property belonging to others (past or present) circulating, either through the student body or online. The intellectual property rights owner deserves to know (and may have already given their consent).