CogSci 207: Introduction to Cognitive Modeling


Lecturer: Prof. Kenneth D. Forbus

Teaching Assistants:TBD

Office Hours: TBD

Contact: For course-related communication, please use cogsci207 <dash> staff <at> cs <you> northwestern <get it> edu.  This address goes to all three of us, which will help us respond better.

What this course is about

What is mind?  This is one of the deepest questions humanity has asked itself.  Many fields have tried to answer it.  Just over 30 years ago, Cognitive Science was created to bring many of these disciplines together, based on the insight that computation provided a new theoretical language for describing how minds work.  This course introduces you to the basic ideas of cognitive models, and how computation has been used to model a wide range of cognitive phenomena. 

Importantly, we do not assume that you know how to program, nor will you be programming in this course.  You will be using some AI software for hands-on exercises, as part of the learning process. 


Each topic will take roughly one week. The order varies from year to year.
  1. What is cognitive modeling?
  2. Knowledge Representation
  3. Qualitative Reasoning
  4. Analogy and similarity
  5. Learning and education
  6. Natural language processing
  7. Emotions
  8. Consciousness
  9. Wrap-up

Exams and assignments

There will be a midterm and a second non-cumulative exam during the last week of class instead of a final exam.  Homework assignments will be weekly.  


There is no textbook for this course.  We will be distributing papers from the literature via our course management system.

The software you will need for the course will also be made available through the course management system or via the web, as appropriate. 

Last edited 6/13/14, by KDF