Development Fund 2004/2005 Final Report
Lecturer Computer Science
University of Essex
Wivenhoe Park, Colchester CO4 3SQ, UK 01206 872327
Title of Project:
Development of interactive exercises for artificial intelligence courses using the e-Game
Description of tasks undertaken during the project:
The project followed the proposed timetable as in the original application. A research assistant
was employed to help with the research and the implementation of the exercises.
Period 1 December – 31 March:
The work during this period fell under work package 1. After undertaking a consultation
exercise regarding the topics covered by introductory artificial intelligence courses “Search”
was chosen as the domain for the first exercise to be developed. The specification of the
exercise followed by designing a realistic scenario, that of scheduling computation jobs in a
hypothetical computer farm. The implementation of the exercise was then undertaken. As part
of this process we also developed a dummy agent as well as an applet that allows students to
view their progress during the game. Basic testing was undertaken during that period, but due
to the time constraints we haven’t been able to test the exercise in the introductory course that
is offered at Essex. I hope to be able to do so in the next academic year. Also, in accordance
with the terms of the development fund, a paper was submitted to the HE-ICS conference which
has been accepted and will be presented at the conference in August.
Period 1 April – 31 July:
The work during this period fell under work package 2. After researching possible topics
covered by multi-agent systems courses we decided to implement an interactive exercise that
covers strategic decision making. The specification of the exercise followed by designing a
realistic scenario, that of a travel agent responsible for booking package holidays on behalf of a
number of clients. The implementation of the exercise followed. At the same time a dummy
agent as well as an applet that allows students to view their progress during the game have
been developed. Basic testing has been undertaken, but the exercise has not been tested in a
class due to the timing of the development (during the summer term). More testing will be
undertaken during the first two weeks of August in order to ensure fault-tolerance and
robustness when working online.
Outcomes (including URL for any materials developed):
The outcomes of this project as proposed in the original application are the two developed
exercises. These can be accessed via:
by following the link Agent Games which appears at the top and left of the page. You will need
to enter a login name in order to be allowed access. You can use login: mfasli, password:
mfasli, or alternatively create another login name through registration by following the link
Register which appears at the top and left of the page.
Exercise 1 appears as game with id 20, the “Super Duper Computer”. A description of the game
can be seen by following the respective link.
Exercise 2 has not been appended to the list of games yet, as we will be undertaking some
extra testing during the first two weeks of August. The exercise will be accessible via the same
link as above but it will appear with id 21 as the “Traveling Agent Game” accompanied by a
description of the game.
Expenditure (£) Claimed in 1 Variance from original
£1707.76 £1292.24 +100
Travel & Subsistence
The £100 that were originally allocated for consumables were diverted to paying the research assistant.
Consumables were covered by the Department of Computer Science, University of Essex.