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Customer Review

322 of 346 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A disappointment: minor update not worth the money, February 3, 2010
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This review is from: Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach (3rd Edition) (Hardcover)
- 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 But some chapters that were getting really thin and outdated in 2009 did not get significant updating.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.
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Tracked by 4 customers

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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 5, 2010 5:45:15 AM PST
Emre Sevinc says:
Thank you very much for clarifying very important points about this new edition.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 12, 2010 9:40:36 AM PST
You have reviewed a diff.

Posted on Jan 19, 2011 6:41:24 PM PST
I would like to know if you have had any comments on the : Artificial Intelligence: Foundations of Computational Agents By David L. Poole, Alan K. Mackworth , that you have mentioned previously.

Posted on Feb 19, 2011 4:49:34 AM PST
what's the best way to catch up on Knowledge represenation? I have the first edition.

Posted on Jan 2, 2012 9:48:55 PM PST
While the book I am reading in Dec11 and Jan12, the Fagin/Halpern/Moses/Vardi MIT book "Reasoning About Knowledge" is not an actual AI text, it does deal with the logic of knowledge, many computational issues, and some temporal logic for only $33 or so. Might be worth a try for you. Reasoning About Knowledge

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 6, 2014 10:34:15 AM PST
Exactly. People give products bad reviews for the wrong reasons, and the standard societal sheep follow along with it. This book is frankly pretty great, and shouldn't be reviewed based on the differences in edition.

Posted on Sep 8, 2015 7:59:48 PM PDT
Is there a book or collection of articles that you would recommend instead?

Posted on Jan 22, 2016 4:38:36 PM PST
Saskia says:
Despite the complaints by some that you are wrong for reviewing the differences in editions, this is EXACTLY the information I was looking for, as I already own the second edition. So I thank you.

I'm curious, since you say the first edition was the best CS textbook ever and the second one read more like an encyclopedia, would it be worthwhile for me to buy the first edition as well? Or would it be redundant, and/or outdated?
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