Dan Ventura
3364 TMCB
(801) 422-9075
Hours: By appointment

Meeting Time & Place

8:00–9:15 TTH
120 TMCB

The Schedule has dates and deadlines for
lectures, reading, assignments, and exams.

Course Description

Creativity plays a key role in many aspects of (intelligent) behavior, including:
  • Problem solving
  • Scientific Discovery
  • Art (visual metaphor)
  • Music
  • Language (metaphor, narrative, poetry, humor)
  • Design
Can we build computational systems that produce interesting/useful results through what must be attributable as creative means? If so, what does this mean? If not, why? Can these questions even be answered? This course will begin to address these questions. Our approach will be project-based, with the main goal of the course being to produce a working system to which we can attribute creativity. We will also incorporate a series of readings on various aspects of computational creativity, including theory, philosophy, empirical studies and implemented systems. The material is inherently inter-disciplinary and ill-defined. It will be intriguing and different and fun and challenging in a way that is likely unlike anything you’ve studied in CS to date.


We will not use a text for the course; instead, we will read papers from the literature. You are responsible for reading the material for a given day prior to that day's discussion. Because class time is limited, we may not cover everything in the reading. However, except where specifically noted otherwise, you are responsible for the entire reading assignment. Most papers will be available online. Any that are not will be provided to you in plenty of time for you to do your reading.

Make sure you have done the reading and tried to understand on your own before you ask questions. If you do not, it is usually readily apparent. This can lead to crankiness, and crankiness never was happiness. When you don't understand something, ask—there are no dumb questions, unless you haven't done your reading.

Attendance & Participation

Class attendance and participation is expected (note that a significant percentage of your grade is based upon it). This is not because I feel the need to have students in class; instead, it is because your attendance and participation guarantee you a better learning experience. While reading and preparing for class, think about what you are reading, form opinions, ask questions and be prepared to contribute to class discussion. This is not going to be a traditional lecture format -- it is going to be a collaborative effort by the class as a whole.

Remember, this is a graduate course—that means more freedom, more fun and more responsibility.


A major part of this course will involve your development of a class project. This will involve significant outside study and preparation on your part and will consist of both a written paper and an oral presentation/demonstration to the class. Ideally, the project will contribute in some way to the research you are already doing, the paper can evolve into a publishable paper and the oral presentation will give you some experience in presenting your research before peers. We will discuss details and possible topics and approaches early in the semester, and since this a major project that will be due near the end of the semester, you will have to start on it well before we have covered some of the material in class. This facilitates your learning to perform research on your own.

As a preliminary step in this process, everyone will submit a project proposal early in the semester and we will then spend a significant percentage of the course meeting collaboratively to discuss project challenges and details as they arise.


There will be no traditional examinations. Instead, there will be one mid-term presentation, in which you will show preliminary progress/results for your system, argue for why your system is creative (or in some way elucidates creativity), and discuss pending challenges and work yet to be done. Part of this midterm experience will be the opportunity to receive feedback from the class that will help improve your final result. The in-class presentation of your semester project will count as your final exam, and you will be graded on your presentation content, your organization, your ability to “tell a story” and say something convincing about computational creativity, your ability to manage time and your ability to answer questions. This final presentation may be open to the public.


Grading will be on a weighted curve. An approximate breakdown is as follows:

41% Project
26% Attendance & Participation
16% Midterm Presentation
17% Final Presentation

Preventing & Responding to Sexual Misconduct

In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Brigham Young University prohibits unlawful sex discrimination against any participant in its education programs or activities. The university also prohibits sexual harassment—including sexual violence—committed by or against students, university employees, and visitors to campus. As outlined in university policy, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking are considered forms of "Sexual Misconduct" prohibited by the university.

University policy requires all university employees in a teaching, managerial, or supervisory role to report all incidents of Sexual Misconduct that come to their attention in any way, including but not limited to face-to-face conversations, a written class assignment or paper, class discussion, email, text, or social media post. Incidents of Sexual Misconduct should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator at or (801) 422-8692. Reports may also be submitted through EthicsPoint at or 1-888-238-1062 (24-hours a day).

BYU offers confidential resources for those affected by Sexual Misconduct, including the university’s Victim Advocate, as well as a number of non-confidential resources and services that may be helpful. Additional information about Title IX, the university’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, reporting requirements, and resources can be found at or by contacting the university’s Title IX Coordinator.

Students With Disabilities

BYU is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to qualified persons with disabilities. If you have any disability that may adversely affect your success in this course, please contact the University Accessibility Center at 422-2767. Services deemed appropriate will be coordinated with the student and instructor by that office.