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CIS 521 Homework 4 Part 2 "Perceptrons" has been released. It is due before 11:59PM on Thursday, June 24, 2021.
CIS 521 Homework 5 "Neural Networks" has been released. It is due before 11:59PM on Monday, June 28, 2021.
Course number
CIS 421/521 - Artificial Intelligence
CIS 121 (for undergraduates)
CIT 594 (for MCIT students)
A data structure and algorithms course, plus substantial programming experience (for everyone)
Harry Smith
Discussion Forum
Time and place
In Summer 2020, the course will be all online.
Lectures will be broadcast live on Zoom every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9AM-11:30PM. Recordings will be made available shortly after the live lectures.
The first day of class is Monday, May 24, 2021.
The first day of office hours will be Tuesday, May 25, 2021.
The final day of class is Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Office hours

Day Time Instructors Location Notes
Monday 12:30-2pm Harry Gather, 269C 1-on-1 Session
Tuesday 6-8pm Harry & Grace Gather, tables to the left of 269C “Lab” Session
Thursday 1:30-3:30pm Harry & Ayush Gather, tables to the left of 269C “Lab” Session
Friday 12-2pm Harry Gather, 269C By appointment only, schedule by Thurs.
Required: Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach (4th edition) by Russel and Norvig. Note that the 4th edition adds substantial new material over the 3rd edition, so you should buy the 4th edition. You can buy the textbook on Amazon or from the UPenn bookstore, where you can rent the digital version for $40.
Supplemental: Speech and Language Processing (3rd ed. draft) by Jurafsky and Martin. This textbook is currently free online while the textbook authors are revising it to write their 3rd edition. We will use it in the last third of the course.
  • 70% Homework Assignments
  • 30% Exams and Quizzes
    • 15% for weekly quizzes (equally weighted)
    • 15% for final exam
The course is not curved. Your overall score is computed as 0.3 * exam score + 0.7 * homework score. All homeworks are equally weighted. Here is how letter grades are assigned based on your overall score:
Score Grade
\(>\) 97 A+
93-97 A
90-93 A-
87-90 B+
83-87 B
80-83 B-
75-80 C+
70-75 C
65-70 C-
50-65 D
below 50 F
Differences between 421 and 521
There is roughly one homework assignment per week, aside from weeks with exams. Students enrolled in CIS 421 may discard their lowest scoring HW assignment provided that all assignment scores are above 50%. You do not get late days back on the homework that you discard. Students enrolled in CIS 521 must complete all HW assignments and cannot discard their lowest scoring assignment.
Collaboration Policy
You can elect before each homework assignment whether you’d like to work alone or in a small group. For each assignment, you’ll be randomly matched into a group. You can discuss homework problems with others (you must explicitly list who you discussed problems with on each homework submission), but all code must be your own independent work, or must have been generated in a pair-coding context. You are not allowed to upload your code to publicly accessible places (like public github repositories), and you are not allowed to access code from anyone outside of your current group. If you discover someone else’s code online, please report it to the course staff via a private note on Piazza.
Late Day Policy
Each student has eight 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. Nearly any time that you ask me for an extension, I will tell you to use your late days, and there are absolutely no exceptions granted after the fact.