The Golog action programming language is a powerful means to express high-level behaviours in terms of programs over actions defined in a Situation Calculus theory. In particular for physical systems, verifying that the program satisfies certain desired temporal properties is often crucial, but undecidable in general, the latter being due to the language's high expressiveness in terms of first-order quantification, range of action effects, and program constructs. So far, approaches to achieve decidability involved restrictions where action effects either had to be context-free (i.e.
We consider a simple language for writing causal action theories, and postulate several properties for the state transition models of these theories. We then consider some possible embeddings of these causal action theories in some other action formalisms, and their implementations in logic programs with answer set semantics. In particular, we propose to consider what we call permissible translations from these causal action theories to logic programs. We identify two sets of properties, and prove that for each set, there is only one permissible translation, under strong equivalence, that can satisfy all properties in the set. As it turns out, for one set, the unique permissible translation is essentially the same as Balduccini and Gelfond's translation from Gelfond and Lifschitz's action language B to logic programs. For the other, it is essentially the same as Lifschitz and Turner's translation from the action language C to logic programs. This work provides a new perspective on understanding, evaluating and comparing action languages by using sets of properties instead of examples. It will be interesting to see if other action languages can be similarly characterized, and whether new action formalisms can be defined using different sets of properties.
Representations that combine first-order logic and probability have been the focus of much recent research. Lifted inference algorithms for them avoid grounding out the domain, bringing benefits analogous to those of resolution theorem proving in first-order logic. However, all lifted probabilistic inference algorithms to date treat potentials as black boxes, and do not take advantage of their logical structure. As a result, inference with them is needlessly inefficient compared to the logical case. We overcome this by proposing the first lifted probabilistic inference algorithm that exploits determinism and context specific independence. In particular, we show that AND/OR search can be lifted by introducing POWER nodes in addition to the standard AND and OR nodes. Experimental tests show the benefits of our approach.