HON 111.1 - Fall 2014

Honors Topics Seminar - Computers playing Jeopardy!


Course Information

Instructor: Dr. Paul Fodor
1437 Computer Science Department, Stony Brook University
Office hours: Wednesdays&Fridays 9:00AM-10:30AM and By Appointment
Phone: (631) 632-9820
Email: pfodor (at) cs (dot) stonybrook (dot) edu

Meeting Time and Place

Course Description

Honors topics courses: these courses, which use alternative learning modes, are intended to enrich the Honors College experience by introducing students to specific aspects of community, academic, and creative life at the University, on Long Island, and in the New York metropolitan region. Past topics have included: the lives of scientists; current events; Long Island ecology; contemporary art; musical performance at Stony Brook; the language of dance; immigration; cultural diversity; entrepreneurship. Each course culminates in the writing of a short, substantive paper. May be repeated as the topic changes.

This Computers playing Jeopardy! 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, 2011, 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).

Prerequisite: Acceptance into the Honors College.

Course Syllabus

Lecture Notes and Homework Assignments

The following schedule is tentative and subject to change.

Week Date Lecture Topics/Notes Assignments/Readings
1 Mo 8/25 Administrative (course information) + What is Computerized Jeopardy! see Blackboard
2 Mo 9/1 NO CLASSES (Labor Day Weekend) N/A
3 Mo 9/8 Computerized Jeopardy! (cont.), UIMA see Blackboard
4 Mo 9/15 Prolog - Logic programming see Blackboard
5 Mo 9/22 Wordnet in Prolog see Blackboard
6 Mo 9/29 DCG Parsers in Prolog see Blackboard
7 Mo 10/6 Probability theory, algorithms and NLP applications see Blackboard
8 Mo 10/13 Text search and indexing see Blackboard

Grading Schema

Grades will be based on homework and lab work. The grades are posted on Blackboard: http://blackboard.stonybrook.edu.


Information about the laboratory room (classroom) is available at the Computer Science Department Windows Computing Facilities and the Computer Science SINC site websites.


Americans with Disabilities Act

If you have a physical, psychological, medical or learning disability that may impact your course work, please contact Disability Support Services, ECC (Educational Communications Center) Building, room128, (631) 632-6748. They will determine with you what accommodations, if any, are necessary and appropriate. All information and documentation is confidential.

Academic Integrity

Each 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. Faculty are required to report any suspected instances of academic dishonesty to the Academic Judiciary. Faculty in the Health Sciences Center (School of Health Technology & Management, Nursing, Social Welfare, Dental Medicine) and School of Medicine are required to follow their school-specific procedures. 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.

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.  Faculty in the HSC Schools and the School of Medicine are required to follow their school-specific procedures.
Page maintained by Paul Fodor