Skip to main content
Project Milestone 3: Final Report Draft has been released. It is due before 11:59PM on Thursday, December 7, 2023.
Extra Credit Research Report (+0.5-2 points on final grade) has been released. It is due before 11:59PM on Tuesday, December 19, 2023.
Project Milestone 4: Final Submission has been released. It is due before 11:59PM on Tuesday, December 19, 2023.

CMSC 671-01 Principles of Artificial Intelligence at UMBC

Fall 2023

Course Description

Artificial Intelligence (AI), the study of how machines can behave in an intelligent, human-like manner, is shaping the way we interact with modern technology on a daily basis. In this introductory course, we will discuss what an intelligent agent is, and explore how an agent can solve problems by searching, make informed decisions, reason under uncertainty, and even learn. This course will help you develop the general foundational tools necessary to implement your own intelligent agents, understand the methods behind recent advances in AI, and pursue more specialized AI applications, including game AI, knowledge representation, machine learning, natural language processing, computer vision, planning, robotics, and more.

Learning Objectives

By the end of the course, you will be able to…


Lara Martin
Office Hours: Tuesdays, 2:30-3:30pm ET and Fridays 11am-12pm ET in ITE 216, also by appointment.
Aydin Ayanzadeh
Office Hours: Wednesdays, 2-4:30pm ET in ITE 334, also by appointment.


Time and Place
Fall 2023, Tuesdays & Thursdays from 1:00-2:15pm EST
Janet & Walter Sondheim 103
First day of class is August 31, 2023
Last day of class is December 12, 2023
Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach (fourth edition) by Stuart Russell and Peter Norvig. AI is moving fast, so the edition matters! A digital version of the textbook can be found through Blackboard under “My Textbooks & Course Resources”.
  • 10% Class Knowledge Checks
  • 10% Paper Presentation
  • 30% Homeworks (3 in total; 10% each)
  • 20% Midterm
  • 30% Final Project

Asynchronous questions to the instructor & TA or discussions with fellow classmates will be through the class Slack. (Please email both Lara & Aydin specifying the email address you want to use, if you need to be added.) There is no grade for these discussions; they are only for your benefit.

Assignment Descriptions

Class Knowledge Checks
These checks are in place to see how well you all are understanding the material as the course goes. These might look like clicker questions (using Poll Everywhere), “minute” questions to get you to think about the ethics of an AI topic, or a small in-class assignment. These will not be graded for accuracy, just whether or not you did them. If you cannot attend a lecture for any reason, you can make up the “minute” questions or assignments in your own time. Please ask Lara & Aydin if you need to make up a day where we did only clicker questions. Your two lowest grade class knowledge checks (i.e., incomplete or missing submissions) will be dropped.
Paper Presentations
Throughout the semester, each student must select a Module and find a research paper relevant to the selected Module, showing how these methods are still used in research today. You will have a specified presentation day where you will informally present what you learned about the paper in small groups and then your group will share the key points with the rest of the class. The night before you present, a short 1-page summary of the paper will be due. More information about the presentation/summary can be found here.
There are 4 homeworks, each corresponding to Modules 1-4: Search, Logical Agents, Sequential Decision Making, and Probability & Stochastic Reasoning. They will each have a corresponding page on this website with more information.
The midterm will show us how well you have learned about the different methods and if you can reason about when to apply them. It will test your knowledge about Modules 0-3 to see if there are any weaknesses in your knowledge before you start on your final project.
Final Project
Teams will come up with AI project ideas and implement them. There will be check-in points along the way to see how you are progressing and to see how well your team is working together.

Class Policies

Late Day Policy

Each student has five free “late days”. Homeworks can be submitted at most two days late. If you are out of late days, then you will not be able to get credit for subsequent late assignments. One “day” is defined as anytime between 1 second and 24 hours after the homework deadline. The intent of the late day policy it to allow you to take extra time due to unforseen circumstances like illnesses or family emergencies, and for forseeable interruptions like on campus interviewing and religious holidays. You do not need to ask permission to use your late days. No additional late days are granted. Late days only apply to the homeworks. They cannot be used on the final project, which must be finished by the final day of class. Late days may not be used for paper presentations.

Edit: With the number of homeworks brought down to 3, you will be allowed to use up to 3 late days for HW 3 and up to 1 late day for each project milestone except for the final milestone (Project Milestone 4: Final Submission). This last assignment must be submitted on time.

Academic Integrity

If you are struggling because of the material or having difficulties completing the assignments on time, please reach out to Dr. Martin rather than copying another student or looking up answers online. We can come up with a solution to help you out before you feel like you need to resort to cheating.

Plagiarism or any sort of cheating is not tolerated in this class. All work submitted must be your own (or, if permitted, with partners—see Collaoration Policy. If you are allowed external sources on an assignment (i.e. not an exam), please be sure to cite your source! Please see the next section for our policy specific to ChatGPT and other generative AI. Remember, reusing your own work from a different class is not permitted; this is self-plagiarism. If you are suspected of cheating, plagiarism, or other forms of academic dishonesty, your case will be brought to the attention of the Undergraduate Academic Conduct Committee or Graduate Council Grievance Committee and may result in an F in the course, depending on the Committee’s decision. Your first offense will result in at least a 0 (zero) on the assignment. If you would like more information on what constitutes as academic dishonesty, please consult

Generative AI

If you use ChatGPT (or similar chatbots or AI-based generation tools), you must describe exactly how you used it, including providing the prompt, the original generation, and your edits. This applies to prose, code, or any form of content creation. Not disclosing is an academic integrity violation. If you do disclose, your answer may receive anywhere from 0 to full credit, depending on the extent of substantive edits, achievement of learning objectives, and overall circumvention of those objectives.

Use of AI/automatic tools for grammatical assistance (such as spell-checkers or Grammarly) or small-scale predictive text (e.g., next word prediction, tab completion) is okay. Provided the use of these tools does not change the substance of your work, use of these tools may be, but is not required to be, disclosed.

Collaboration Policy

You ARE allowed to work in pairs on the homework assignments and teams of 3-5 for the final project. You must clearly indicate the names of all people involved when submitting the assignment, attributing who did what for the assignment. You can discuss answers/submissions for the paper presentation & class knowledge checks. Please note that you are NOT allowed to collaborate at all on the midterm.

Technology Use

You’re allowed to use your computer in class since the clicker questions will be by phone or web browser (, but be warned that I’m more likely to call on you and ask you a question if I see you’re not paying attention. 😈


Class materials have been borrowed from Dr. Chris Callison-Burch, Dr. Tim Finin, Dr. Cassandra Kent, Dr. Cynthia Matuszek, and Dr. Mark Riedl. Generative AI policy is borrowed from Dr. Frank Ferraro.

UMBC School Policies

Accessibility and Disability Accommodations, Guidance and Resources

Accommodations for students with disabilities are provided for all students with a qualified disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA & ADAAA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act who request and are eligible for accommodations. The Office of Student Disability Services (SDS) is the UMBC department designated to coordinate accommodations that creates equal access for students when barriers to participation exist in University courses, programs, or activities.

If you have a documented disability and need to request academic accommodations in your courses, please refer to the SDS website at for registration information and office procedures.

SDS email:

SDS phone: 410-455-2459

If you will be using SDS approved accommodations in this class, please contact the instructor to discuss implementation of the accommodations. During remote instruction requirements due to COVID, communication and flexibility will be essential for success.

Sexual Assault, Sexual Harassment, and Gender Based Violence and Discrimination

UMBC Policy in addition to federal and state law (to include Title IX) prohibits discrimination and harassment on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity in University programs and activities. Any student who is impacted by sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, sexual exploitation, gender discrimination, pregnancy discrimination, gender-based harassment, or related retaliation should contact the University’s Title IX Coordinator to make a report and/or access support and resources. The Title IX Coordinator can be reached at or 410-455-1717.

You can access support and resources even if you do not want to take any further action. You will not be forced to file a formal complaint or police report. Please be aware that the University may take action on its own if essential to protect the safety of the community.

If you are interested in making a report, please use the Online Reporting/Referral Form. Please note that, if you report anonymously, the University’s ability to respond will be limited.

Notice that Faculty and Teaching Assistants are Responsible Employees with Mandatory Reporting Obligations

All faculty members and teaching assistants are considered Responsible Employees, per UMBC’s Policy on Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Harassment, and Gender Discrimination. Faculty and teaching assistants therefore required to report all known information regarding alleged conduct that may be a violation of the Policy to the Title IX Coordinator, even if a student discloses an experience that occurred before attending UMBC and/or an incident that only involves people not affiliated with UMBC. Reports are required regardless of the amount of detail provided and even in instances where support has already been offered or received.

While faculty members want to encourage you to share information related to your life experiences through discussion and written work, students should understand that faculty are required to report past and present sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic and dating violence, stalking, and gender discrimination that is shared with them to the Title IX Coordinator so that the University can inform students of their rights, resources, and support. While you are encouraged to do so, you are not obligated to respond to outreach conducted as a result of a report to the Title IX Coordinator.

If you need to speak with someone in confidence, who does not have an obligation to report to the Title IX Coordinator, UMBC has a number of Confidential Resources available to support you:

Retriever Integrated Health (Main Campus): 410-455-2472; Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.; For After-Hours Support, Call 988.

Center for Counseling and Well-Being (Shady Grove Campus): 301-738-6273; Monday-Thursday 10:00a.m. – 7:00 p.m. and Friday 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. (virtual) Online Appointment Request Form

Pastoral Counseling via The Gathering Space for Spiritual Well-Being: 410-455-6795;; Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.

Other Resources

Women’s Center (open to students of all genders): 410-455-2714;; Monday – Thursday 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Friday 10:00 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Shady Grove Student Resources, Maryland Resources, National Resources.

Child Abuse and Neglect

Please note that Maryland law and UMBC policy require that faculty report all disclosures or suspicions of child abuse or neglect to the Department of Social Services and/or the police even if the person who experienced the abuse or neglect is now over 18.

Pregnant and Parenting Students

UMBC’s Policy on Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Harassment and Gender Discrimination expressly prohibits all forms of discrimination and harassment on the basis of sex, including pregnancy. Resources for pregnant, parenting and breastfeeding students are available through the University’s Office of Equity and Civil Rights. Pregnant and parenting students are encouraged to contact the Title IX Coordinator to discuss plans and ensure ongoing access to their academic program with respect to a leave of absence – returning following leave, or any other accommodation that may be needed related to pregnancy, childbirth, adoption, breastfeeding, and/or the early months of parenting.

In addition, students who are pregnant and have an impairment related to their pregnancy that qualifies as disability under the ADA may be entitled to accommodations through the Office of Student Disability Services.

Religious Observances & Accommodations

UMBC Policy provides that students should not be penalized because of observances of their religious beliefs, and that students shall be given an opportunity, whenever feasible, to make up within a reasonable time any academic assignment that is missed due to individual participation in religious observances. It is the responsibility of the student to inform the instructor of any intended absences or requested modifications for religious observances in advance, and as early as possible. For questions or guidance regarding religious observances and accommodations, please contact the Office of Equity and Civil Rights at

Hate, Bias, Discrimination and Harassment

UMBC values safety, cultural and ethnic diversity, social responsibility, lifelong learning, equity, and civic engagement.

Consistent with these principles, UMBC Policy prohibits discrimination and harassment in its educational programs and activities or with respect to employment terms and conditions based on race, creed, color, religion, sex, gender, pregnancy, ancestry, age, gender identity or expression, national origin, veterans status, marital status, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, or genetic information.

Students (and faculty and staff) who experience discrimination, harassment, hate, or bias based upon a protected status or who have such matters reported to them should use the online reporting/referral form to report discrimination, hate, or bias incidents. You may report incidents that happen to you anonymously. Please note that, if you report anonymously, the University’s ability to respond may be limited.