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CS 440/ECE 448
Fall 2020
Margaret Fleck

Welcome to CS 440/ECE 448, Fall 2020!

Pretty much everyone is now over on piazza. So I have stopped posting announcements on this page. Please add yourself to the piazza site. If you have problems doing so, contact Margaret Fleck (mfleck@illinois.edu) for help.

These pages are mostly ready, so feel free to explore. However, there may be last-minute tweaks.

Only half of today's lecture is up right now (9am) because mediaspace is having some issues. The other half will appear as soon as the support folks unjam it.

What should I do right away?

Add yourself to this course on piazza (see link above). Fairly soon, I'll start using piazza for announcements rather than email.

Browse the web site and, in particular, read the syllabus.

Click the moodle link above and make sure you are enrolled. If not, self-enroll. Don't worry about Gradescope: I'll upload a roster in a bit.

Keep an eye out for this week's lectures (see above link).

If you haven't used Python before, start experimenting with it (see below).


The CS academic office controls the course caps. I cannot override anyone into the class. The "CS only" restrictions will be lifted on August 28th. If you are not yet registered, please feel free to participate in class while watching for a seat to open. Be aware that we will not add students after Add Date (10th day of classes).

It is straightforward for graduate students to switch to 3sh or undergraduates to switch to 4sh. Contact the CS academic office to get the right form. This does not need to be done before add date. So please wait until the office is no longer crowded with urgent problems (usually 1-2 weeks into the term).


The textbook is Russell and Norvig, Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach, fourth edition. The bookstore has the hardbound (aka US) edition. The third edition is also fine. So are used copies, paperback (aka international) and electronic editions.

You can probably manage without a copy of the textbook. I try to put everything critical into the online notes, and many other online resources are available (some linked from the course web page). However, I think you'll find it useful to have. If the price of the new edition seems high, have a look for a cheaper edition.

Programming language

The MPs will be written in Python. If you've never used Python before, you should start getting used to it now, rather than waiting for the release of the first MP. A good place to start is the Python Tutorial (also available in hardcopy form). You should install version 3.6 or 3.7 on your computer, as well as the pygame graphics package. We believe that version 3.8 will also work, but that has yet to be thoroughly tested.