About CS 206 A

Exploration of the automated design of autonomous machines using evolutionary algorithms. Coursework involves reading of research papers, programming assignments and a final project. Prerequisites: Junior standing and programming experience, or Instructor permission.

Section Description

This course will explore the automated design of autonomous machines using evolutionary algorithms. The course will cover relevant topics in evolutionary computation, artificial neural networks, robotics, biomechanics, and simulation. Students will conduct a major Python programming project that will span the course and thus provide hands-on experience with the topics covered. Undergraduates will use their developed system to perform a pre-specified evolutionary robotics experiment; graduate students will formulate their own research hypothesis and use their system to test that hypothesis.

Section Expectation

No laptops or smartphones may be used during class. All notetaking must be done with pen and paper. Here is why: goo.gl/mdEpUH, goo.gl/QTTkmZ. All lecture notes are available from the schedule. There are two options for using these lecture notes: Print them out, bring them to class, and annotate them there. Alternatively, come to class without the notes, but take notes on paper (or simply listen to the lecture). I record each lecture and post it to YouTube during the day. Thus, you can annotate the electronic version of the lecture notes using your preferred device while watching the video lecture on your own time.


Grading Scheme: The late policy for this class is as follows: material one day late, 25% deduction; two days late, 50% deduction; three days late, 100% reduction. Ten programming assignments (10×4=40%): Over the span of ten weeks, each student will gradually build a software system that allows them to conduct an evolutionary robotics experiment. This system will be composed of 10 software modules. Each programming assignment will involve implementing one of these modules. Note: Because the modules will form a final, integrated system, if you fail to hand in one assignment, you must hand it in along with the new assignment the following week. Graduate students: you will complete two assignments per week, during the first five weeks. Quizzes (25%): After each class, a multiple-choice quiz will be posted on BlackBoard. This quiz should only take 10 minutes, assuming you attended lecture and completed the reading for that day. The quiz must be taken by 11:59pm that day. Final project (30%): Over the final four weeks of the semester (or nine, for the graduate students), each student will use their software system to perform an evolutionary robotics experiment. Several weekly deliverables will be submitted, a written report describing the experiment will be handed in at the end of the semester, and an oral presentation will be given during the exam period. Participation (5%): Class participation counts toward your final grade. Students are permitted to miss up to and including three classes without being required to provide justification. Missed classes beyond that must be cleared with the instructor.

Course Dates



Innovation Hall E430 (View Campus Map)


to on Tuesday and Thursday

Important Dates

Note: These dates may change before registration begins.

Note: These dates may not be accurate for select courses during the Summer Session.

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