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CMPUT 412  Course Outline

Experimental Mobile Robotics

Sample LEGO Robot
Version 2007-1-0, Jan 08 2007

General Information

Term: Winter 2007, Lecture B1
Date and Time: Lecture TR 15:30-17:00, Lab W 14:00-17:00
Location: Lecture ETLE1 018,  Lab CSC 229
Number of credits: 3-0-3


Instructor: Csaba Szepesvári
Office: ATH-311
Phone: 492-8581
E-mail: Csaba's e-mail
Office Hours: By appointment

Teaching Assistant: Azad Shademan, Shen Jiang
E-mail: e-mail of Azad,E-mail of Shen

RLAI OpenPages:

View more contact information.


A project-based course dealing with the design and implementation of behavior-based robots to accomplish specific tasks. Students work in groups and are introduced to concepts in vision, image processing, feedback control, signal processing and robotics.


After the course you will be able to solve simple robotics and vision tasks. You will have a basic understanding of feedback loops, the effect of limited information, noise and the basics of how to deal with all these.


There are no official pre-requisites to this course. However, students are expected to posses a good level of understanding of basic calculus, linear algebra and probability theory. Ideally, the students should know how to program in C++.

Course Topics

The course will be built around Mindstorm NXT robots. You will build robots and program them to accomplish certain tasks. Programming is done (mostly) in C++.
The main project will be to implement Russ's DoublePoint technology idea using robots. Here is the description of the problem from Russ's e-mail:

"Everyone who has ever used the projection system in CSC B-10 has been  annoyed and frustrated at having 2 screens here, as this means that only one-half of the audience can see  where his/her laser pointer is pointing. But there could be a technical solution to this! Why not have a camera trained on each screen, recording the location of a moving small bright red light."

Course Work and Evaluation

Course Work Date Weight
Assignment 1 (Maze)
Jan 23
Assignment 2 (PC Comm.)
Jan 30
Assignment 3 (Laser robot)
Feb 6
Assignment 4 (Tracking)
Feb 22
Assignment 5 (Image matching)
Mar 8
Assignment 6 (Double Pointer) Apr 10

Assignments are normally due in class, or in the case of electronic submission by midnight on the due date.

See the course schedule for specific information, assignments and dates for course work.

Grading System

Your final grade will be based on my interpretation of the grading system as defined in Section 23.4 of the Academic Regulations. There is no pre-defined function of your final mark to compute your final grade, but instead use my judgement of how the class final marks reflect mastery of the course material. I believe that this produces a fair evaluation, and my extensive past experience supports this.

Here is the interpretation of the descriptors associated with the letter grades for undergraduate students.

Letter Descriptor Interpretation
A-, A, A+ Excellent Consistently original thinking that extends the material, demonstrated depth and breadth in the material, ability to integrate material with other subjects, ability to analyse and synthesize material at various levels of abstraction.
B-, B, B+ Good Like an A, but not consistent over time, or weak in a specific area.
C-, C, C+ Satisfactory Understand the core material but not its subtleties, can apply it to simple situations on own and to more complex situations with hints, evidence that the material has changed the way of thinking.
D+ Poor Understand some of the core material but not its subtleties, can apply it to simple situations but often needs assistance, evidence that the material has had some change on the way of thinking.
D Minimal Pass Shows some understanding of parts of the material, cannot apply it without some direction, little evidence that the material has changed the way of thinking.
F Failure Little evidence of understanding of even the surface issues, poor analysis and synthesis, inability to apply the material.
Here is the conversion table we use at the U of A for computing your GPA:
Numeric Equivalents
Letter A+ A A- B+ B B- C+ C C- D+ D F
GPV 4.0 4.0 3.7 3.3 3.0 2.7 2.3 2.0 1.7 1.3 1.0 0.0

See 61.6 University of Alberta Marking and Grading Guidelines.]


Any questions or concerns about marks on a particular assignment must be brought to the attention of the instructor or TA within 10 days of its return date. After that, we will not consider remarking or re-evaluating the work. However, clerical errors such as incorrectly computing or recording a mark may be raised at any time prior to 2 working days following the final exam.

Course Materials

There are no required textbooks for this course.


Course Outlines

Policy about course outlines can be found in Section 23.4(2) of the University Calendar.

Academic Integrity

The University of Alberta is committed to the highest standards of academic integrity and honesty. Students are expected to be familiar with these standards regarding academic honesty and to uphold the policies of the University in this respect. Students are particularly urged to familiarize themselves with the provisions of the Code of Student Behaviour (online at www.ualberta.ca/secretariat/appeals.htm) and avoid any behaviour which could potentially result in suspicions of cheating, plagiarism, misrepresentation of facts and/or participation in an offence. Academic dishonesty is a serious offence and can result in suspension or expulsion from the University. (GFC 29 SEP 2003)


Collaboration on assignments is encouraged. Recent studies are begining to show that pair-programming is a very effective way for students to master computing science concepts. My approach is a very pragmatic one. You must always properly acknowledge the sources you used and people you worked with. When you collaborate you should be prepared for an individual code inspection/walkthrough. You should be prepared to explain what every line of your code, assignment, design, documentation etc. does and why you choose to write it that way.

Students may only submit work authored by themselves, or with approved co-authors. Work submitted by a student that is the work of someone else (e.g. another student or a tutor) either in part or in entirety is considered plagiarism. Cases of plagiarism and other forms of cheating are immediately referred to the Dean of Science, who determines what course of action is appropriate. We do not hesitate to send ALL cases of cheating to the Dean's office. Please do not put yourself or us into such an unpleasant situation. Please read the Code of Student Behavior carefully. For up-to-date information, please visit http://www.ualberta.ca/~unisecr/appeals.htm.

Department Policies

Refer to Department Policy to learn about:

  • Collaboration
  • Excused Absences
  • Conditions of Use

University Policies

The University of Alberta policies inlcude, but are not limited to, the following: