This page is for frequently asked questions (most recent ones at the top). Please check this page as well as the syllabus to see if your question has already been answered before reaching out to Prof. Murthy and Kumaresh. If you don’t see your question here, please email both of us!
Table of contents
- How should I format my problem sets & how long should my answers be for open-ended questions?
- Can I take this course as pass/fail?
- What will the problem sets consist of? Do I need to know how to code or do statistics?
- Do I have to write a paper for the final exam?
- Can I turn in my assignment late and still get credit?
- General / Course Logistics
- What happens if I test positive for COVID during the semester and can’t attend class / section?
- Can I take this course if I’m not from a computer science or neuroscience background?
- Can I change sections? Can I attend a section that I’m not assigned to?
- Can I audit the course or take it pass / fail?
- Where can I get extra help outside of section?
How should I format my problem sets & how long should my answers be for open-ended questions?
You may either type or write up your problem sets, just make sure your work is legible. You do not need to include the question in your document, although it does help us slightly when grading. You are free to write up your solutions in popular document prepation softwares like LaTeX as well. Please be sure to include the question number (and question if possible) while doing so.
Many of the questions may be open ended, but think of the length of your response as proportional to the amount of points that the question is worth. You do not need to go on for paragraphs; a succinct couple of sentences should do. Bullet points are also acceptable.
Can I take this course as pass/fail?
Yes, please refer to the syllabus page for the relavant assessment information
What will the problem sets consist of? Do I need to know how to code or do statistics?
The problem sets will be a mix of discussion questions (e.g., is it ethical to use neural prosthetics to enhance cognition?) and technical questions (e.g., please calculate the time delay between neural signal A and neural signal B reaching the brain). You do not need to know how to code or do statistics, but you will at times need to perform basic calculations from formulas that we will teach and explain. Everything you need to know to complete the psets will be covered in lecture or section.
Do I have to write a paper for the final exam?
The final paper is an oppourtunity to explore a topic from the course in more depth. You can either write a “review” paper summarizing a subtopic discussed in the course, or write an “opinion” paper arguing a side of a debate (e.g., is it ethical to track people’s browsing data?). However, individuals with a creative idea may elect to do a project instead of writing a paper. For example, you may choose to survey people’s level of comfort with AI tracking their personal data, and then analyze and report the survey data. For those who are technically inclined, you could come up with a coding project that uses neural networks to generate music or art. Creativity is encouraged!
All students (whether writing a paper or doing a project) will have to get their idea approved by the professor / their section TF beforehand. More details about the assignment will be given at a later date.
Can I turn in my assignment late and still get credit?
The late policy says that you get 1 “free pass” for a late assignment (up to 2 days). After that, any late assignment will get 1 point deducted for every day that it is late. For example, if the pset is due Friday and you turn it in on Monday, you will be deducted 3 points from your final score. Remember, each pset is worth a total of 10 points. The latest you can turn a pset in and still recieve credit (with the late penalties) is the Wednesday after the pset is due @ 11:59PM.
General / Course Logistics
What happens if I test positive for COVID during the semester and can’t attend class / section?
Unfortunately, we must all be prepared for this to happen this term. If you test positive for COVID and are instructed to isolate, please email Prof. Murthy, Kumaresh, and your Resident Dean to let us know that you will be missing class and to request extensions on assignments—You can forward us the email you recieve from HUHS. If you will be missing section that week, please also email your Section TF.
Since lectures will be recorded, you can access and watch class content at a later date. We will also offer extensions on psets, making sure that you have enough time to recover and complete assignments. If you will also be missing section, you can either ask your TF to record section or provide you with the material afterwards. If you happen to be asymptomatic or feeling well enough to participate in section, you can ask your TF to Zoom into section, if possible.
We hope that you all can help each other during these times as well: It’s helpful to identify several people within your section that you can contact to fill you in on course or section material when you cannot attend in-person. For more information on COVID exposure and isolation policies, please visit this page.
Can I take this course if I’m not from a computer science or neuroscience background?
Yes! This course is supposed to be an introduction to topics in artificial and natural intelligence. We’ve had students from all kinds of concentations take this course, including Social Studies, Government, and East Asian Studies. We really value all kinds of perspectives in our discussions, especially when we talk about controversial topics, for example, the ethics of AI!
Can I change sections? Can I attend a section that I’m not assigned to?
We will use my.Harvard’s sectioning tool to assign sections. You will be able to rank sections in the order of your preference, and we will try our best to honor that preference. If in the case you are assigned to a section that conflicts with another course, please email the Head TF, Kumaresh. You must attend the section that you were assigned to get credit for section attendance.
Can I audit the course or take it pass / fail?
Pass / failing and auditing is by instructor permission only and under limited circumstances. Please email both Prof. Murthy and Kumaresh with your specific situation. Remember, you are allowed to take 1 out of 4 of your Gen Ed courses as pass / fail during your time at Harvard.
Where can I get extra help outside of section?
Prof. Murthy will host weekly office hours (Time TBD) on Zoom.