CSE 392 - Fall 2011- Syllabus

Computers playing Jeopardy!


Course Objectives and Description

This 3 credits class is about the IBM Watson project. IBM Watson is a computer system capable of answering rich natural language questions and estimating its confidence in those answers at a level of the best humans at the task. On Feb 14-16, in an televised event, Watson triumphed over the best human players of all time on the American quiz show, Jeopardy!. In this course we will discuss the main principles of natural language processing, computer representation of knowledge and discuss how Watson solved some of its answers (right and wrong).

Official Course Goals

At the end of this class you should be able to understand current papers in the field of Natural Language Processing (NLP).


Instructor: Dr. Paul Fodor
1437 Computer Science Building
Office hours: We 12:00-2:00PM, Th 2:00-3:00PM and By Appointment
Phone: (631) 632-9820
Email: pfodor (at) cs (dot) stonybrook (dot) edu

Class Time/Place


No required textbooks. We will use material from:

Grading Schema

Grades will be based on homework and lab work. The Pass/No Credit (P/NC) option is not available for this course. This policy applies to all CSE/ISE undergraduate courses used to satisfy the graduation requirements for the major.

Programming Assignments

There will be programming assignments which must be submitted electronically on Blackboard by the announced due date and time. All code must compile. Code that does not compile will not be graded. Assignments will be graded based on program performance and documentation. You may not submit any programming assignment late. Late programming work will not be graded. All program code that is submitted electronically must have the following information listed clearly in documentation (comments in your program code) at the beginning of each file:


For re-grading of an assignment or exam, please meet with the person (instructor or teaching assistant) responsible for the grading. Please try to arrange a re-evaluation within one week of receiving the graded work. All such requests that are later than one week from the date the graded work is returned to the class will not be entertained.

Academic Dishonesty

You are encouraged to discuss the intellectual aspects of assignments with other class participants. However, each student is responsible for formulating solutions in his or her own words. A student must pursue his or her academic goals honestly and be personally accountable for all submitted work. Representing another person's work as your own is always wrong. Any suspected instance of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Academic Judiciary. For more comprehensive information on academic integrity, including categories of academic dishonesty, please refer to the academic judiciary website at http://www.stonybrook.edu/uaa/academicjudiciary Academic Dishonesty Penalty: Students who submit the same or suspiciously similar assignments will receive a grade of zero on the particular assignment and have their final course grade reduced by one letter grade. In addition, the College of Engineering & Applied Sciences has formal procedures to handle cases of academic dishonesty.


If you have a physical, psychological, medical or learning disability that may impact on your ability to carry out assigned course work, I would urge that you contact the staff i n the Disabled Student Services office (DSS), Room 128 ECC, 632-6748/TDD. DSS will review your concerns and determine, with you, what accommodations are necessary and appropriate. All information and documentation of disability is confidential. Important: If you are planning to take exams at the DSS office, you need to tell me ahead of time for every exam. Otherwise you may not be able to take i t there.

Critical Incident Management

Stony Brook University expects students to respect the rights, privileges, and property of other people. Faculty are required to report to the Office of Judicial Affairs any disruptive behavior that interrupts their ability to teach, compromises the safety of the learning environment, or inhibits students' ability to learn.