On representing planning domains under uncertainty

Felipe Meneguzzi, Yuqing Tang, Katia Sycara, Simon Parsons

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPublished conference contribution


Planning is an important activity in military coalitions and the support of an automated planning tool could help military planners by reducing the cognitive burden of their work. Current AI planning paradigms use two different types of formalism to represent the planning problem. Each of these formalisms entails different inference algorithms and representation of results.
On the one hand plans in non-stochastic domains are represented using declarative logic-based formalisms, an example of which is Hierarchical Task Networks (HTNs). In HTNs, domains are represented in terms of task decompositions of increased detail in relation to the actions that must be carried
out. In general, declarative formalisms are easier for humans to understand. On the other hand, stochastic planning is often represented in terms of large probability functions that exhaustively specify the likelihood of relevant world changes when actions are executed, as exemplified by Markov Decision Processes (MDPs). Stochastic domain specifications can easily become challenging to a human designer as the problem size increases, worse still,
solver algorithms degrade quickly with increased domain size.
In order to facilitate domain modeling for planning under uncertainty, we propose a method of deriving stochastic domain specifications in the MDP formalism from a description using the HTN formalism. This method can reduce the resulting MDP state-space through an intermediate representation using Binary Decision Diagrams (BDDs). The benefits of the approach are twofold: (a) the reduction of the state space, and consequent reduction of computational burden is beneficial since it enables the representation and solving of realistic planning problems, and (b) starting from a declarative representation makes planning more comprehensible to humans, while extending the representation
to stochastic domains.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Fourth Annual Conference of the International Technology Alliance
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Acknowledgement. This research was sponsored by the Army Research Laboratory and was accomplished under Cooperative Agreement Number W911NF-09-2-0053. The views and conclusions contained in this document are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as representing the official policies, either expressed or implied, of the Army Research Laboratory or the U.S. Government. The U.S. Government is authorized to reproduce and distribute reprints for Government
purposes notwithstanding any copyright notation here on.


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