aitk: Artificial Intelligence Toolkit


This collection contains two things: an open source set of Python tools, and a set of computational essays for exploring Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Robotics. This is a collaborative effort started by the authors, building on almost a century of collective experience in education and research.

The code and essays are designed to require as few computing resources as necessary, while still allowing readers to experience first-hand the topics covered.


  • Douglas Blank - Emeritus Professor of Computer Science, Bryn Mawr College; Head of Research at
  • Jim Marshall - Professor in the Computer Science Department at Sarah Lawrence College
  • Lisa Meeden - Professor in the Computer Science Department at Swarthmore College


Please feel free to contribute to this collection:

  • Your Name Here

Computational Essays

Each computational essay is described at Computational Essays.

Python tools

aitk is a virtual Python package containing the following modules.

  • aitk - top level virtual package; install this to get all of the following
    • aitk.robots - Python package for exploring simulated mobile robots, with cameras and sensors
    • aitk.algorithms - Python package for exploring algorithms
    • aitk.networks - Python package for constructing and visualizing Keras deep learning models
    • aitk.utils - Python package for common utilities

Python Installation

We recommend using miniconda for running Jupyter Notebooks locally on your computer. However, you can also skip this and run the Computational Essays on other services, such as Google's Colab. To use miniconda:

  1. First install miniconda
  2. Next, activate your base environment: source ~/miniconda/bin/activate
  3. Create a Python 3.8 conda environment: conda create --name py38 python=3.8
  4. Activate it: conda activate py38

You only need to do step 1 once. To get out of conda, back to your regular system:

  • conda deactivate (will get out of py38)
  • conda deactivate (will get out of base environment)

Software Installation

After activating your conda environment:

  1. pip install "aitk.robots[jupyter]" (installs all of the aitk.robots requirements to run in Jupyter Lab 3.0)
  2. pip install pandas tensorflow numpy matplotlib tqdm ipycanvas (some things you might want)

Jupyter Installation

If you want to work in notebooks and jupyter lab:

  1. pip install jupyterlab
  2. jupyter labextension install @jupyter-widgets/jupyterlab-manager ipycanvas
  3. jupyter lab starts it up, opens browser window

AITK Community

For questions and comments, please use