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You don’t need to contact the course instructor to get permissions to register for CIS 4210/5210. Here are the steps that you should follow:

Step 1: You should request permission for the course in the Path@Penn tool at any point in time.

Step 2: You will be contacted via email when the CIS Waitlist opens up for the course you requested. You will need to fill out information that is requested of them in the CIS Waitlist. (This won’t begin happening until around May 11 after advance registration).

Step 3: Be Patient. The waitlist will be reviewed and permits will be issued during the summer and closer to the beginning of the semester on a rolling basis when spaces are available.

Step 4: If you have been approved for the course you will be contacted via email with how you can claim permission for the course in the Path@Penn tool and register.

Questions about the waitlist? Please read this overview of the CIS Waitlist System or contact email

For more info about CIS 4210/5210, check out the course homepage.

After you’ve added yourself to the waitlist, you’ll get assigned a category based on your degree and how many years you have left at Penn. I have increased the enrollment to allow 400 students in the class, so hopefully there will be enough room for everyone who is interested!

This course is programming intensive, and requires prior Python experience and previous computer sceince courses in data structures and algorithms. If you’d like to self-assess whether your background is appropriate, you can try out the first few homework assignments prior to the start of the class.

Course number
CIS 4210/5210 - Artificial Intelligence
CIS 121 (for undergraduates)
CIT 594 (for MCIT students)
A data structure and algorithms course, plus substantial programming experience (for everyone)
Chris Callison-Burch
Discussion Forum
Time and place
In Fall 2022, the course will be in-person in Myerson B1 and broadcast live via Zoom. You are not obligated to attend in person. Everyone is welcome to watch the videos from home.
All lecture materials will be recorded and uploaded for students wishing to participate remotely. We also have pre-recorded lectures available for review.
The first day of class is Tuesday, August 30, 2022.
The first day of office hours will be Tuesday, September 6, 2022.
The final day of class is Thursday, December 8, 2022.
  • The class meets on Tuesday/Thursday from noon-1:30pm Eastern.
Office hours (1-on-1 on
Group Office Hours (Recorded)
TBD (Chris Callison-Burch)
Required: Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach (4th edition) by Russel and Norvig. Note that the 4th edition adds substantial new material over the 3rd edition, so you should buy the 4th edition. You can buy the textbook on Amazon or from the UPenn bookstore, where you can rent the digital version for $40.
Supplemental: Speech and Language Processing (3rd ed. draft) by Jurafsky and Martin. This textbook is currently free online while the textbook authors are revising it to write their 3rd edition. We will use it in the last third of the course.
Materials for Extra Credit Assignments
In addition to the normal homework assignments, we will have a series of optional extra credit assignments that use programmable toy R2D2s. These assignments can be done in groups. Each extra credit homework assignment if worth up to about 1% towards your final grade. The total amount of extra credit earned will be divided among each student in a group (so students in a large group get less extra credit than students in smaller groups to refelct the effort done).
You can borrow one of the R2D2 robots from us. It must be returned at the end of the semester in good working order, or you will have to pay $100 to replace it.
  • 70% Homework Assignments
  • 30% Exams and Quizzes
    • 10% for weekly quizzes (equally weighted)
    • 10% for midterm 1
    • 10% for midterm 2
  • Up to 3-5% in Optional Extra Credit
The course is not curved. Your overall score is computed as 0.3 * exam score + 0.7 * homework score. All homeworks are equally weighted. Here is how letter grades are assigned based on your overall score:
Score Grade
≥ 97 A+
93-97 A
90-93 A-
87-90 B+
83-87 B
80-83 B-
75-80 C+
70-75 C
65-70 C-
50-65 D
below 50 F
Differences between 4210 and 5210
There is roughly one homework assignment per week, aside from weeks with exams. Students enrolled in CIS 4210 may skip one HW assignment, or they may discard their lowest scoring HW assignment. You do not get late days back on the homework that you discard. Students enrolled in CIS 5210 must complete all HW assignments and cannot discard their lowest scoring assignment. If you are an undergraduate who is considering submatriculating into the master’s program then you should enroll in CIS 5210.
Collaboration Policy
Quizzes and exams must be completed on your own without help from others. For quizzes or exams that are open notes or allow a “cheatsheet”, you must create the notes yourself and not use anyone else’s notes. Since exams are sometimes administered on different days, you should not discuss the exam with anyone else in the course until after the scores have been released.
Unless otherwise noted, you are not allowed to work in groups on the homework assignments. You can discuss homework problems with others (you must explicitly list who you discussed problems with on each homework submission), but 

all code must be your own independent work. You are not allowed to upload your code to publicly accessible places (like public github repositories), and you are not allowed to access anyone else’s code. If you discover someone else’s code online, please report it to the course staff via a private note on Piazza.
Late Day Policy
Each student has 5 free “late days”. Homeworks can be submitted at most two days late. If you are out of late days, then you will not be able to get credit for subsequent late assignments. One “day” is defined as anytime between 1 second and 24 hours after the homework deadline. The intent of the late day policy it to allow you to take extra time due to unforseen circumstances like illnesses or family emergencies, and for forseeable interruptions like on campus interviewing and religious holidays. You do not need to ask permission to use your late days. No additional late days are granted.