Since I never can get enough projects, I’ve decided to start on something I’ve thought about doing for a long time. There are several reasons for doing it, but foremost among them is that I want to get back to playing with AI, and I want to have a project with many small pieces that I can do when I have some time over. If it ends up being educational or useful for others at the same time, well, I’m not complaining!
So what is it?
Well, first I’d like to introduce a book. It’s called Paradigms of Artificial Intelligence Programming or PAIP for short. It’s written by Peter Norvig, who’s also written several other books about AI. Currently he’s the Director of Research at Google. PAIP is probably both my favorite book about AI, and my favorite book about Common Lisp. It’s a really great book. Really. If you have any interest in one of those two subjects you should get hold of it. PAIP doesn’t cover cutting edge AI, but rather takes the historic view and looks at several examples from different eras, going from the first programs to some later, quite advanced things.
I’ve read it numerous times, went through the code and tweaked it and so on. It’s lots of fun. But that was a few years ago. So basically, what I want to do is to go through the book again. But this time I’m going to write all the programs in Ruby – converting them from Common Lisp and then maybe tweak them a bit to make them more idiomatic. And I’m planning to post it here. Or rather, I’m going to post the actual source code to http://github.com/olabini/paipr. I’m going to blog about all the code I write. You don’t necessarily have to have the book, since I’m going to surround the code with some descriptions and explanations.
Once again then, why should anyone care? Well, I don’t know. No one might care. But for me personally it’s going to be an interesting experience converting idiomatic Common Lisp into idiomatic Ruby. It’s going to be fun to revisit the old approaches to AI. And it might serve as a good, code heavy introduction to the subject for anyone interested in it.
I do have the permission from Peter Norvig to do this. The Ruby code I write is covered by the MIT license, while any Lisp code posted as part of this exercise is covered by the license here: http://norvig.com/license.html.
Also note that I sometimes won’t write the most obvious Ruby – it will be good to have a few links to the original Lisp code.