Introduction to Artificial Intelligence - COMP8250

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2023 to 2024
Autumn Term 7 15 (7.5) Palaniappan Ramaswamy checkmark-circle


This module covers the basic principles of machine learning and the kinds of problems that can be solved by such techniques. Students will learn about the philosophy of AI, how knowledge is represented and algorithms to search state spaces. The module also provides an introduction to both machine learning and biologically inspired computation.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 28
Private study hours:122
Total study hours: 150

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods
A1 – Practical assignment (25%)
A2 – Practical assignment (25%)
2 hour unseen written examination (50%)

Indicative reading

The University is committed to ensuring that core reading materials are in accessible electronic format in line with the Kent Inclusive Practices.
The most up to date reading list for each module can be found on the university's reading list pages.
S.J. Russell & P. Norvig, "Artificial Intelligence: a modern approach", 4th Edition. Pearson, 2020. (main textbook)
S. Pinker. "How the Mind Works", W.W. Norton & Company, 1999.
A. Cawsey, "The Essence of Artificial Intelligence", Prentice-Hall, 1998.
P. Bentley. "Digital Biology: How Nature Is Transforming Our Technology and Our Lives", Simon & Schuster, 2007.
S. Marsland, "Machine Learning: An Algorithmic Perspective", CRC Press, Taylor and Francis, 2nd Edition, 2014.
E. K. Burke & G. Kendall, "Search Methodologies: Introductory Tutorials in Optimization and Decision Support Techniques", 2nd Edition, Springer, 2014
S. Haykin, "Neural Networks and Learning Machines", 3rd Edition. Pearson, 2009
R.L. Haupt & S.E. Haupt, “Practical Genetic Algorithms”, 2nd edition, Wiley, 2004.

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the motivation for designing intelligent machines, their implications and associated philosophical issues, such as the nature of intelligence and learning.
2. Demonstrate systematic understanding, critical awareness and application of the main kinds of state-space search algorithms, considering their strengths and limitations.
3. Understand and explain the main concepts and principles associated with different kinds of knowledge representation, such as logic, case-based representations, and subsymbolic/connectionist representations.
4. Understand and explain the differences between the major kinds of machine learning problems – namely supervised learning, unsupervised learning and reinforcement learning – and describe and implement the fundamental ideas of algorithms for solving those problems.
5. Demonstrate mastery of the main concepts and principles of major kinds of biologically-inspired algorithms, and understand the implementation and evaluation of one such technique.
6. Demonstrate comprehensive understanding of how various intelligent-system techniques have been used in the context of several case studies, and critically compare different techniques in the context of those case studies.


  1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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