Top critical review
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A disappointment: minor update not worth the money
on February 3, 2010
- With AIMA 1st Edition, I had relearned AI anew from a fresh, insightful and wonderfully pedagogical perspective.
Best computer science textbook ever.
- With AIMA 2nd Edition, I got a lot of recent advances in AI brought to me in the same way, even if presented at times in a way that was too concise for a textbook, and read more like an encyclopedia.
Yet, great 2nd Edition.
- This 3rd Edition is alas AIMA 2.1 and not the AIMA 3.0 that I was waiting for. The new material and new insightful way to organize past material are both scant. Certainly not worth the price for those who own the 2nd Edition.
Don't get me wrong, if you are about to buy your first AI textbook, this is a great buy as it is still light years ahead of the competition. But some chapters that were getting really thin and outdated in 2009 did not get significant updating.
This is particularly true for knowledge representation. Missing are all the recent yet already consolidated advances brought about by the new solutions to the frame problem (such as the fluent calculus), default reasoning, abduction-based and case-based diagnosis, rule-based reasoning (such as constraint handling rules, answer sets, object-oriented logic programming etc.), in short, all forms of reasoning that are neither pure deduction, nor probabilistic. Advances on multi-agent reasoning are also not covered. I understand that to summarize AI in 1000 pages many important topics will not make the cut, but I feel, as a researcher on the topic for the past 25 years and lecturer on it for the past 15 years, that this 3rd edition contains obsolete stuff from the 80s (like frames, semantic networks, production systems, situation calculus, etc.) instead of their modern substitute listed above.
In short, after two Herculean efforts, it seems like the authors put far less work in this one. As a result, we are left without an truly comprehensive and up-to-date text to teach AI and agents. I hope the incoming text by David Poole will cover some of the weaknesses of this AIMA 2.1.