SYLLABUS FOR 1999 FALL
Computer Science Department
Stanford, CA 94305
JulAugSepOctNovDec , :< 10 0
CS323 covers primarily logical AI with emphasis on the epistemology
(often called ontology these days) and nonmonotonic reasoning.
I'm not sure how rigorously I will follow this syllabus. There will
definitely be some additional readings, and some topics may take
longer to cover than planned.
The 19 lectures will cover topics approximately as follows:
- Approaches to AI. Biological approach that imitates the human,
computer science that looks at the problems the world presents. The
logic approach that emphasizes facts more than programs.
Epistemology and heuristics. Some history. Nonmonotonic reasoning,
context and other extensions to mathematical logic. Importance of
the common sense informatic situation. How far to human-level AI?
Reading: [McC59], Optional: [McC96a].
- Logic for AI (Lifschitz's simple blocks world example). Logical
languages, interpretations, models. Intended and unintended models.
- Situation Calculus: [MH69] is the original
Preread: (1) The section Formalism (on situation calculus (that name
came later)) from [MH69] (2) [McC59]
- Frame problem and monotonic frame axioms. We will emphasize the
blocks world. Relevant formulas are
Preread: the sections Introduction and The frame problem(s)
- Continuation of blocks world formalization. Frames as objects.
Exercises on situation calculus.
- Philosophical issues. Semantics of ``can''. The practice of AI
requires taking sides in certain longstanding philsophical
controversies. For example, a person designing a computer program
to learn about the world has to regard the world as more than a
construct in the ``mind'' of the computer program. Otherwise, how
could he compare the beliefs the program will come to have with
facts about the world. Lots more philosophy is involved, but maybe
AI people will do all right without thinking much about the
conundrums philosophers have created for themselves.
Preread: (1) section
on ``can'' from [MH69], (2) [McC79a]
- Contexts as formal objects. It is a truism that the meanings of
sentences and terms depend on context. The meaning of a context is
itself contextual, and you can carry this as far as seems useful.
The innovation here is a formal theory of the relations of different
contexts and how meanings depend on context.
- Elaboration tolerance.
Preread: McCarthy drafts :
[McC96c], [McC97] This is a new topic, but it
relates to the continual computer science desire for modularity. We
are studying how to make logical formalisms that allow changes in
axiomatizations of phenomena without having to start all over. Our
Drosophila is the missionary and cannibals problem. The
point is to see what variants can be made purely by adding to the
- Approximate concepts and approximate theories. Many important
concepts, perhaps most, are intrinsically approximate in that they
cannot be given if-and-only-if definitions. We study how statements
involving approximate concepts can have definite truth values. The
semantics of approximate concepts may be different from what is
standard in mathematical logic. Reading to come.(***)
- First order theories of individual concepts and propositions.
We treat individual concepts and propositions as first class
objects. This lets us say more about them than can be said using
them just as terms and formulas of first order logic.
- Heuristics: We would like to have a declarative theory of
heuristics so programs can reason about them. Most likely we won't
have more than illustrative examples of heuristics and hits at
making them into objects. Reading to come, maybe.
- Formalization of knowledge
- Circumscription (1). Circumscription is a form of non-monotonic
reasoning based on minimizing predicates and formulas.
- Circumscription (2)
- Default Logic is the second major surviving form of
- Nonmonotonic theories of action
Preread: sections 3,4,6 in [SS94]
- Introspection for Robots. Like people, robots will need to
think about their own mental states, e.g. about their own
intentions. Preread: [McC96b]
Mon Sep 27 22:39:10 PDT 1999