Course Information


Mondays and Wednesdays 1:30-2:50pm, Gates B01.

This class will also be offered on SCPD. Registered Stanford students can watch lectures online.

Major Themes

  • There is a principled mathematical framework for defining rational behavior.
  • Key algorithms for solving decision problems leverage decomposition and recursion.
  • The computational techniques discussed in class can lead to superior decisions that are sometimes counterintuitive.
  • Successful application of these principles depends on the choice of representation and approximation.
  • The same computational approaches can be applied to very different application domains.

Learning Outcomes

  • You will gain a broad fundamental understanding of the mathematical models and solution methods for decision making (exercises, two midterms, take-home quiz).
  • You will be able to implement and extend key algorithms for learning and decision making (two programming projects).
  • You will be able to identify an application of the theory in this course and formulate it mathematically (proposal).
  • You will gain a deep understanding of an area of particular interest and apply it to a problem (final project).
  • You will be able to critique approaches to solving decision problems (peer review).


AA228 will be offered for 3-4 units. Students registering for the 4 unit version of the course will be required to spend at least 30 additional hours extending their course project and preparing the paper for a peer-reviewed conference submission (actual submission is not required).


Mykel J. Kochenderfer, Decision Making Under Uncertainty: Theory and Application, MIT Press, 2015. $70.00

Stanford students can access the online copy here.

Errata for the first printing can be found here.


Class discussions are held on Piazza.


Projects: 31%
Midterms: 44%
  • 15% Midterm 1
  • 15% Midterm 2
  • 14% Take-home quiz
Final project: 25%
  • 5% Proposal
  • 15% Paper
  • 5% Peer Review

Grades are posted on Canvas.

Late Policy

The Late Policy is that there are No Late days, so please plan ahead under uncertainty.


  • Midterm 1 (in class) on Oct 11
  • Midterm 2 (in class) on Nov 8
  • Take-home Quiz (at home) released Nov 27 (after lecture), due Dec 4, 11:59PM

If you are not able to attend the in class midterms with an official reason, please let the course staff know ASAP so that a separate examination time can be scheduled.


Students are allowed to bring only 1 double sided page (letter size) of typed or handwritten notes to the midterm. For the second midterm, you may bring the same sheet your brought to your first midterm along as well.

SCPD Students

We will be flexible with the examination times let you choose anytime on the day of the midterm exam to do it. You can arrange the exact time with your monitor.

Students with Disabilities

Students who may need an academic accommodation based on the impact of a disability must initiate the request with the Office of Accessible Education (OAE). Professional staff will evaluate the request with required documentation, recommend reasonable accommodations, and prepare an Accommodation Letter for faculty dated in the current quarter in which the request is made. Students should contact the OAE as soon as possible since timely notice is needed to coordinate accommodations. The OAE is located at 563 Salvatierra Walk (phone: 723-1066, URL: