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COSI 112: Commonsense and Temporal Reasoning
For the Semantic Web

Brandeis University
Spring 2003

Time: Tue., Fri. 12:00-1:30 pm
Location: Volen 106


Professor: James Pustejovsky
258 Volen Center,, (781) 736 2709
Office hours: Wed., Fri. 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

TA: Roser Saurí
110 Volen Center,
Office hours: ***

Course Description

This course will discuss the notion of an intelligent agent, particularly as devised for the semantic web. The prerequisites for intelligent behavior by an agent are many, but in this course we concentrate on two areas in particular: commonsense knowledge and commonsense reasoning. Metadata specification for web content on a large scale is impossible without commonsense reasoning. We will revisit some of the classic algorithms from early AI which were motivated by broad concerns of general inference, reasoning about commonsense occurrences, and story understanding. Much of this work has relevance today, and we will elaborate on some recent work on simple inferences and story understanding. We will review the basics of logical inference, abductive and non-monotonic reasoning, and then focus on ontologies for web content. The last segment of the course will be a detailed examination of a specification language and inference system designed for reasoning about events and temporal expressions in language texts.

Reference Materials

  • Ernest Davis (1990)
    Representations of Commonsense Knowledge
    Morgan Kaufmann Publishers

  • Stuart Russell and Peter Norvig (1995)
    Artificial Intelligence. A Modern Approach.
    Prentice Hall.


Late Policy

Assignments are due electronically by 11:59 pm on the date given, and charged a 5% late-fee per 24 hour day. They won't be accepted a week after the due date. That police will be strictly adhered.


  • 3 lab/programming exercises: 60% of the grade.
  • 2 theory assignments: 40% of the grade

Submit proceedure

To submit electronically, send the assignment to


L: Lab Exercise
T: Theory Assignment







T, Jan 14

Intro to Common Sense Reasoning




F, Jan 17

Intro to the Semantic Web




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Roser Sauri