Symbolic AI – Subject Overview

Symbolic AI is very different from other Artificial Intelligence courses, as it attempts to solve the problem of how to get computers to validate a statement given a load of facts. We humans do it all the time:

That car is indicating.
Cars which indicate turn.

From this we’re able to deduce that the car is going to turn. Getting computers to interpret these statements of fact and validate statements would be incredibly useful.

This is achieved through use of First-Order Logic, a formal language which allows us to represent statements. We will also be using Prolog, a “general purpose logic programming langauge” that allows us to write statements of fact that the computer can understand. Together they can be used to help the computer understand us. Later in the course, Prolog is used to implement a natural language parser, an incredibly useful tool in AI.

This course is very theory-orientated and is ideal for people who like logic or want to go into Artificial Intelligence. It’s not an “awesome robots which do cool things” course, but it provides insight into another side of the techniques employed in AI. In addition, it provides an introduction into the Prolog language and its uses.


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