FRO100 Thinking as Computation
Fall 2013

Dr. Jill Zimmerman
office: Julia Rogers 127
phone: 410 337-6227
email: jill.zimmerman AT

Office Hours:
        10:00 -11:00 MWF
        11:00-12:00 Tu
         others by appointment

Text: Levesque, Thinking as Computation

Class web page:

Course Description: Are brains like computers? In a word, no. But perhaps the thinking process can be viewed and understood as a form of computation. This course explores the connection between thinking and computation by producing computations for many tasks that we perceive as requiring intelligent thought. We will create computations for tasks such as solving puzzles, understanding natural language, planning courses of action, and playing strategic games using the computer language Prolog. The material is presented with a minimal of technical detail so no prior computing background is required.

Course Objectives:

Course Mechanics:

This is a hands-on class with most of class time spent on activities designed to bring understanding through exploration. This is not a course in which I lecture and you do homework since that kind of course structure simply does not allow you to gain the course objectives. The activities will be done in pairs and you will be assigned various partners throughout the semester. Because you are working with a partner in the class activities it is imperative that you attend class and arrive on time. You will be penalized on the points awarded on an activity for not meeting your obligations to your partner and may be forced to work on an activity independently. If the unexpected should happen and you must miss or be late for a class session, you must contact me promptly concerning this absence. If you are late by more than 10 minutes for a class session you will automatically be docked 10% for each 10 minutes you are tardy. The activities are where the learning is happening so you need to be prepared to participate in them fully. You and your partner will submit a single activity report for the pair. This work will not be accepted late and must be the work of you and your partner alone. Turning in work that was produced from someone outside of the pair is forbidden and will be subject to an Honor code violation. (See the Honor code for definition and disposition of academic dishonesty.) The course schedule is outlined on the website and on goucherLearn. Check the schedule regularly for all due dates.

It is academically dishonest to submit any work of another as if it was your own.  This includes submitting programming code that you obtained from another or from a web resource.  See the Honor code for definition and disposition of academic dishonesty.


Your course grade will be based entirely on your activity reports