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Research Seminar Artificial Intelligence


Admission requirements

Bachelor degree (completed)


This seminar-style course studies the topic of artificial intelligence, taking a broad and historical view. Presentations are mainly held by the students themselves, while some are given by the lecturer. Goal of the course is to learn studying, processing and presenting scientific material, and to learn about artificial intelligence. The seminar consists of lectures, multiple homework assignments/tests, and student presentations.

It covers various topics from the field of artificial intelligence, to the level that should enable students to discuss AI comfortably with other scientists. The selected topics were chosen to be practically applicable for future Media Technology projects, or to make students think about future directions. They include the questions of why we need AI and whether machines can think, evolutionary computation, neural networks, computing with DNA, computers and emotions, computational creativity and more. It is not a complete overview of AI topics. Some topics are not strictly AI but related; they were included to understand the history and broader context of artificial intelligence.

Course objectives

After succesfully completing the course, students

  • know the history and challenges of AI;

  • know the breadth of the field, and the different views on what AI is;

  • have basic knowledge and understanding of key concepts, such as philosophical concepts, the Turing Test, neural networks, evolutionary algorithms, DNA computing, natural language processing, affective computing, fear of AI, and more;

  • have some working knowledge of basic neural networks training and evolutionary algorithms;

  • can comfortably discuss AI within an academic environment;

  • could consider taking a more in-depth course on specific topics from this course.


You will find the timetables for all courses and degree programmes of Leiden University in the tool MyTimetable (login). Any teaching activities that you have sucessfully registered for in MyStudyMap will automatically be displayed in MyTimeTable. Any timetables that you add manually, will be saved and automatically displayed the next time you sign in.

MyTimetable allows you to integrate your timetable with your calendar apps such as Outlook, Google Calendar, Apple Calendar and other calendar apps on your smartphone. Any timetable changes will be automatically synced with your calendar. If you wish, you can also receive an email notification of the change. You can turn notifications on in ‘Settings’ (after login).

For more information, watch the video or go the the 'help-page' in MyTimetable. Please note: Joint Degree students Leiden/Delft have to merge their two different timetables into one. This video explains how to do this.

Mode of instruction

Lecture, Seminar, Student presentations. Language: English.

Assessment method

The final grade for the course is established by determination of a weighted average of partial grades for written in-class homework tests (GradeTest) and a student presentation (GradePres). If both GradeTest and GradePres are larger-or-equal to 5.5, then the final grade is (GradePres + 2 * GradeTest) / 3. Else, the final grade is the lowest of GradePres and GradeTest. Naturally, the final grade is rounded according to Leiden University rules (nearest half-point with exception of 5.5).

Written homework tests:
Frequent (un-announced) in-class written homework tests are graded and collectively make up the larger part of the final grade. As such attendance in all lectures is mandatory. Non-completed homework tests are graded with 0. The lowest of the homework test grades is dropped from consideration, while the remaining ones are averaged (GradeTest).

Student presentation:
Each student gives a compulsory graded in-class presentation, either alone or as a pair (GradePres). If a student fails to present, the presentation is graded with 0.

Retake rules:
The student presentation can only be retaken if GradePres < 5.5. If-and-only-if the GradeTest < 5.5, then a single retake exam is available that covers all course topics. The outcome of the retake exam replaces GradeTest.

Reading list

No book, only web-available materials. Communicated via the course Brightspace.


From the academic year 2022-2023 onward every student has to register for courses with the new enrollment tool MyStudyMap. There are two registration periods per year: registration for the fall semester opens in July and registration for the spring semester opens in December. Please see this page for more information.

Please note that it is compulsory to both preregister and confirm your participation for every exam and retake. Not being registered for a course means that you are not allowed to participate in the final exam of the course. Confirming your exam participation is possible until ten days before the exam.

Extensive FAQ's on MyStudymap can be found here.


Contact the lecturer(s) for course specific questions, and the programme's coordinator for questions regarding admission and/or registration.


Elective, external and exchange students (other than Media Technology MSc students) need to be admitted to the course before registration due to limited capacity. Contact the programme's coordinator to request admission; include a short description of your course interest and state your current study programme in your correspondence.