Mstation Book Reviews
Valid RSS pre Dec 04 reviews are here

Mon, 04 Jul 2005

AI: a modern approach

Stuart Russell, Peter Norvig, Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach, Prentice Hall

Summer vacation/holidays coming up and we're reviewing a textbook? It is indeed, and a very widely used one at that. But never fear, when texts aren't read under the dumbed-down hammer of continuous assessment, they can actually be fun.

I've had a habit for a while of scanning the shelves in computer sections looking for a good, fairly all-purpose book, that acted as an introduction but also took you on a fair journey through what has been done and what is happening now. This book does those things and is also written in a way that is engaging.

The book first looks at the question of what AI is and then goes on to problem solving and knowledge and reasoning, planning, uncertainty or fuzziness, learning and perception. Leaving aside philosophical questions about any of this (which will bring everything to a grinding halt but questions of "right" and "wrong" do have to be addressed at some stage), this is as good a guide as there is.

One appealling thing about this area of study is that it hasn't all been done yet. There has been a huge amount of work done but the early breakthroughs that were expected have not come so, in addition to the fine tuning of improved academic hypothesis in existing areas there's also the possibility of great logical leaps being rewarded.

[] permanent link