mrry (Happy New Year)
Blog Computing Science - Artificial Intelligence 4 28/May/2005

I've been a little remiss: for each of the previous exams, I had a synopsis up by the end of the same night. By the end of Tuesday night, I had been "to Stirling and back" and had had no sleep for 25 hours. Despite my best efforts to make time for this crucial public service, I had to conduct several important meetings, and this is the first opportunity I've had. More at length later about the glorious end to the exams: we have the important matter of the AI exam to discuss!

Artificial Intelligence is one of the most fascinating subjects that I had the opportunity to take this year, and, now that the pesky exams are out of the way, it might be nice to read the textbook properly. As a course, however, it was certainly wide-ranging, and the fact that the contents of the aforementioned textbook were examinable meant that we could have been in for a rough time.

As he had to go home early on Tuesday, Chris has a detailed synopsis of the questions, which is just as well, since I don't have the paper, and I've pretty much forgotten what was in it.

Although the paper is 80 marks/answer all questions, there is some consolation in that several questions are perennial. There's always something on Turing tests, percepts and actions, perception as an ill-posed problem, Bayes' Theorem, and the value of perfect information. Apart from these twenty-or-so marks, however, anything's fair game.

The trickiest thing about this year's paper was that we were invited to come up with novel, AI-based features for a mobile phone. Given the research group's penchant for the sexier areas of Computing Science, I wouldn't be surprised if some of the better suggestions turn up on BBC News one day. Irksomely, the ten marks following that question were based upon it, so it was tricky to answer them when I couldn't spontaneously invent three compelling new ideas. I was left to fall back on speech recognition, which I judged—with less than one minute remaining—to be useful for "those with no hands." Where I'm going, it's always shorts weather.

Overall, it seemed a reasonable exam, and of a similar difficult to the previous year's paper. Perhaps the call of the pub gave us the necessary adrenaline rush to get through it.








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