Homework 2 (Spring 2022)

Answer the following prompts in a maximum of 6 pages (excluding references) in JDF format. Any content beyond 6 pages will not be considered for a grade. 6 pages is a maximum, not a target; our recommended per-section lengths intentionally add to less than 6 pages. This length is intentionally set expecting that your submission may include diagrams, drawings, pictures, etc. These should be incorporated into the body of the paper.

If you would like to include additional information beyond the word limit, you may include it in clearly-marked appendices. These materials will not be used in grading your assignment, but they may help you get better feedback from your classmates and grader.

Question 1: ~2 pages

Prior to beginning this question, consider one of the great internet debates of our time: what is a sandwich? First, take the following list of dishes and decide whether each one is a sandwich. In your assignment, start with a list of which of these you consider sandwiches, and which you do not. If you are unfamiliar with any of these types of sandwich, you should be able to Google them and find out what they are.

BLT on white bread; hamburger; turkey and swiss on potato roll; meatball sub; tuna salad on brioche; chicken wrap; chip butty; burrito; ice cream sandwich; grilled cheese; turkey hero; ice cream taco; vada pav; toast; cheese quesadilla; toaster strudel; veggie burger; Klondike bar; egg & cheese biscuit; buttered biscuit; gyro; sushi rolls; patty melt; calzone; sloppy joe

Once you’ve labeled each of those, illustrate the process of incremental concept learning using a series of potential sandwiches. Construct a model of what a sandwich is, noting which heuristics are used to specialize and generalize the model with each additional positive or negative example. Step through the process with at least four potential sandwiches, at least two positive and two negative examples. Then, briefly note whether any of the sandwiches you did not include would make a significant difference to the model if you had chosen to go that far.

Next, attempt a classification approach to defining a sandwich. Select a number of parameters (similar to “Lays eggs?” and “Has wings?” from the bird example in the Classification lecture) that would be useful in differentiating sandwiches. We recommend considering both structure and ingredients. Then, define values for those parameters for at least six sandwiches, and then construct an abstracted classification of what a sandwich is based on those values.

Finally, answer the age old question, “Is a hot dog a sandwich?”, using each of three perspectives: the model you developed through incremental concept learning; the classifier you developed based on those parameters and their values; and a case-based reasoning approach. With regard to case-based reasoning, you need only comment on what sandwich you think would be drawn as most “similar” to a hot dog.

Question 2: ~2 pages

In Agatha Christie’s detective novel A Murder is Announced, a group of characters are trying to remember who was absent from the room when a murder took place at the start of the book. There are three candidates: Mrs. Swettenham, Mrs. Easterbrook, and Julia Simmons. A character named Miss Murgatroyd comes to a sudden realization and exclaims, “She wasn’t there!” At that moment, though, the person she is speaking to—Miss Hinchcliffe—has to run, and later events prevent anyone from asking Miss Murgatroyd what she remembered.

Later, when Miss Hinchcliffe recalls the scene to Miss Marple, the following conversation takes place:

“You haven’t told me yet what your friend said.”

“Just one sentence! ‘She wasn’t there.‘”

She paused. “You see? There were three women we hadn’t eliminated. Mrs. Swettenham, Mrs. Easterbrook, Julia Simmons. And one of those three—wasn’t there… She wasn’t there in the drawing room because she had slipped out through the other door and was out in the hall.”

“Yes,” said Miss Marple, “I see.”

“It’s one of those three women. I don’t know which. But I’ll find out!”

“Excuse me,” said Miss Marple. “But did she—did Miss Murgatroyd, I mean, say it exactly as you said it?”

“How d’you mean—as I said it?”

“Oh, dear, how can I explain? You said it like this. She-wasn’t-there. An equal emphasis on every word. You see, there are three ways you could say it. You could say, ‘She wasn’t there.’ Very personal. Or again, ‘She wasn’t there.’ Confirming, some suspicion already held. Or else you could say (and this is nearer to the way you said it just now), ‘She wasn’t there…’ quite blankly—with the emphasis, if there was emphasis—on the ‘there.’

“I don’t know.” Miss Hinchcliffe shook her head. “I can’t remember… how the hell can I remember? I think, yes, surely she’d say ‘She wasn’t there.’ That would be the natural way, I should think. But I simply don’t know. Does it make any difference?”

“Yes,” said Miss Marple, thoughtfully. “I think so. It’s a very slight indication, of course, but I think it is an indication. Yes, I should think it makes a lot of difference…”

(Christie, A. (1950). A Murder is Announced. HarperCollins Publishers.)

Later, it is discovered that the person Miss Murgatroyd realized was missing wasn’t one of the three they originally suspected, but someone different. The correct emphasis on the sentence is “She wasn’t there” and the intent is not to emphasize someone is missing altogether, but rather to emphasize that someone was not in the specific place they were originally thought to be. The emphasis on there is critical because it showed Miss Murgatroyd was thinking of a place, not a person, when she had her realization.

Now, imagine we are writing an AI agent that can solve crimes. Specifically, let us consider how this AI agent would handle hearing this realization from Miss Murgatroyd.

First, explain how an AI agent might use the principles of Understanding to make sense of the sentence, “She wasn’t there.” As part of this, provide a frame representation of this sentence.

Second, examine each of the three different ways the words of the sentence could be emphasized: “She wasn’t there”, “She wasn’t there”, and “She wasn’t there”. Explore how the AI agent might be able to understand how different emphases alter the meaning of the sentence. What additional knowledge or abilities would it need to have? As part of this, provide a frame representation that captures at least two of these these new understandings.

Finally, in the story, Miss Hinchcliffe falls into the trap of assuming one interpretation of the sentence—”She wasn’t there”—because it made the most sense in light of her prior assumptions. Discuss how the AI agent might be designed to avoid this sort of tunnel vision without losing the benefits of context and top-down reasoning altogether.

Submission Instructions

Complete your assignment using JDF, then save your submission as a PDF. Assignments should be submitted to the corresponding assignment submission page in Canvas. You should submit a single PDF for this  assignment. This PDF will be ported over to Peer Feedback for peer review by your classmates. If your assignment involves things (like videos, working prototypes, etc.) that cannot be provided in PDF, you should provide them separately (through OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.) and submit a PDF that links to or otherwise describes how to access that material.

This is an individual assignment. All work you submit should be your own. Make sure to cite any sources you reference, and use quotes and in-line citations to mark any direct quotes.

Late work is not accepted without advanced agreement except in cases of medical or family emergencies. In the case of such an emergency, please contact the Dean of Students.

Grading Information

Your assignment will be graded on a 20-point scale coinciding with a rubric designed to mirror the question structure. Make sure to answer every question posted by the prompt. Pay special attention to bolded words and question marks in the question text.

Peer Review

After submission, your assignment will be ported to Peer Feedback for review by your classmates. Grading is not the primary function of this peer review process; the primary function is simply to give you the opportunity to read and comment on your classmates’ ideas, and receive additional feedback on your own. All grades will come from the graders alone.

You receive 1.5 participation points for completing a peer review by the end of the day Thursday; 1.0 for completing a peer review by the end of the day Sunday; and 0.5 for completing it after Sunday but before the end of the semester. For more details, see the participation policy.