Fall 2020 - CMPT 827 G100

Intelligent Systems (3)

Class Number: 6682

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo, We, Fr 12:30 PM – 1:20 PM

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 19, 2020
    3:30 PM – 6:30 PM



Intelligent systems are knowledge-based computer programs which emulate the reasoning abilities of human experts. This introductory course will analyze the underlying artificial intelligence methodology and survey advances in rule-based systems, constraint solving, incremental reasoning, intelligent backtracking and heuristic local search methods. We will look specifically at research applications in intelligent scheduling, configuration and planning. The course is intended for graduate students with a reasonable background in symbolic programming.


Many real computing applications involve computational problems for which no generally efficient algorithms are known. These problems often involve relatively small inputs, but astronomically-sized search spaces in which solutions may be well hidden. Developing practical software for solving these problems is challenging and costly. This course examines methods for automatically solving these problems based on high-level specifications, much as we use a query language rather than low-level algorithms to answer complex questions about a large data set. The course will pursue two tracks in parallel. In one, we will examine the design and use of real systems that are products of major companies or widely used research tools, including hands-on experience. In the other, we will develop formal foundations to support principled design and analysis of such systems and their use in critical applications and to understand their strengths and limitations. We will begin with lectures on fundamentals, and toward the end shift to considering current issues and research directions. The course is suitable for students with an interest in research or in tackling problems that are not well-solved. A strong discrete math background is recommended. Ideally, students should have taken a course similar to CMPT-705 or CMPT-307.


  • Intractable search and optimization problems; Search algorithms.
  • Constraint modelling languages; Model-and-solve systems.
  • Basic model theory and first order logic.
  • SAT, SAT algorithms, reductions, SAT solvers;
  • Logic, databases, query languages, and problem specifications.
  • Treewidth, proof complexity, fixed-parameter tractability.
  • Applications in science (e.g. bio-informatics), hardware and software, business, etc.


  • (Preliminary) Assignments (40%), Midterm Tests (40%), Project (20%).

Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: http://www.sfu.ca/dean-gradstudies/current/important_dates/guidelines.html. The deadline to drop a course with a 100% refund is the end of week 2. The deadline to drop with no notation on your transcript is the end of week 3.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in fall 2020 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).