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Introduction to Artificial Intelligence (Undergraduate Topics in Computer Science)

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the definite goal of understanding intelligence and building intelligent systems. However, the methods and formalisms used on the way to this goal are not firmly set, which has resulted in AI consisting of a multitude of subdisciplines today. The difficulty in an introductory AI course lies in conveying as many branches as possible without losing too much depth and precision.

Russell and Norvig’s book [RN10] is more or less the standard introduction into AI. However, since this book has 1,152 pages, and since it is too extensive and costly for most students, the requirements for writing this book were clear: it should be an accessible introduction to modern AI for self-study or as the foundation of a four-hour lecture, with at most 300 pages. The result is in front of you.

In the space of 300 pages, a field as extensive as AI cannot be fully covered. To avoid turning the book into a table of contents, I have attempted to go into some depth and to introduce concrete algorithms and applications in each of the following branches: agents, logic, search, reasoning with uncertainty, machine learning, and neural networks.

The fields of image processing, fuzzy logic, and natural language processing are not covered in detail. The field of image processing, which is important for all of computer science, is a stand-alone discipline with very good textbooks, such as [GW08]. Natural language processing has a similar status. In recognizing and generating text and spoken language, methods from logic, probabilistic reasoning, and neural networks are applied. In this sense this field is part of AI. On the other hand, computer linguistics is its own extensive branch of computer science and has much in common with formal languages. In this book we will point to such appropriate systems in several places, but not give a systematic introduction. For a first introduction in this field, we refer to Chaps. 22 and 23 in [RN10]. Fuzzy logic, or fuzzy set theory, has developed into a branch of control theory due to its primary application in automation technology and is covered in the corresponding books and lectures. Therefore we will forego an introduction here.

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