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Applying Monte-Carlo Tree Search in HTN Planning

AAAI Conferences

Search methods are useful in hierarchical task network (HTN) planning to make performance less dependent on the domain knowledge provided, and to minimize plan costs. Here we investigate Monte-Carlo tree search (MCTS) as a new algorithmic alternative in HTN planning. We implement combinations of MCTS with heuristic search in PANDA. We furthermore investigate MCTS in JSHOP, to address lifted (non-grounded) planning, leveraging the fact that, in contrast to other search methods, MCTS does not require a grounded task representation. Our new methods yield coverage performance on par with the state of the art, but in addition can effectively minimize plan cost over time.


Using Memory to Transform Search on the Planning Graph

Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research

The Graphplan algorithm for generating optimal make-span plans containing parallel sets of actions remainsone of the most effective ways to generate such plans. However, despite enhancements ona range of fronts, the approach is currently dominated in terms of speed, by state space planners that employ distance-based heuristics to quickly generate serial plans. We report on a family ofstrategies that employ available memory to construct a search trace so as to learn from various aspects of Graphplan's iterative search episodes in order to expedite search in subsequent episodes. The planning approaches can be partitioned into two classes according to the type and extent of search experience captured in the trace. The planners using the more aggressive tracing method are able to avoid much of Graphplan's redundant search effort, while planners in the second class trade off this aspect in favor of a much higher degree of freedom than Graphplan in traversing the space of'states' generated during regression search on the planning graph. The tactic favored by the second approach,exploiting the search trace to transform the depth-first, IDA* nature of Graphplan's search into an iterative state space view, is shown to be the more powerful. We demonstrate that distance-based, state space heuristics can be adapted to informed traversal of the search trace used by the second class of planners and develop an augmentation targeted specifically at planning graph search. Guided by such a heuristic, the step-optimal version of the planner in this class clearly dominates even a highly enhanced version of Graphplan. By adopting beam search on the search trace we then show that virtually optimal parallel plans can be generated at speeds quite competitive with a modern heuristic state space planner.


Solving Classical AI Planning Problems Using Planning-Independent CP Modeling and Search

AAAI Conferences

The combinatorial problems that constraint programming typically solves belong to the class of NP-hard problems. The AI planning community focuses on even harder problems: for example, classical planning is PSPACE-hard. A natural and well-known constraint programming approach to classical planning solves a succession of fixed plan-length problems, but with limited success. We revisit this approach in light of recent progress on general-purpose branching heuristics. We conduct an empirical comparison of our proposal against state-of-the-art planners.


How WayBlazer is Transforming Travel Planning with Artificial Intelligence

#artificialintelligence

For the past few years, the travel industry has been exploring innovative ways to utilize artificial intelligence (AI), in an effort to unlock the promise of more efficient communications and greater customer service between travelers and service provides. So far, most of that potential has remained largely untapped, despite significant advances in both travel and AI sectors. WayBlazer however, is building an extremely powerful travel recommendation engine, and it's doing it with a little help from AI. WayBlazer's Travel Graph uses artificial intelligence to learn about tens of millions of travel products and thousands of global destinations. By using machine learning models, their travel graph gets smarter with every user search. The result is a recommendation engine that understands travel like an expert, factoring both context and search intent.


Agent-Centered Search

AI Magazine

In this article, I describe agent-centered search (also called real-time search or local search) and illustrate this planning paradigm with examples. Agent-centered search methods interleave planning and plan execution and restrict planning to the part of the domain around the current state of the agent, for example, the current location of a mobile robot or the current board position of a game. These methods can execute actions in the presence of time constraints and often have a small sum of planning and execution cost, both because they trade off planning and execution cost and because they allow agents to gather information early in nondeterministic domains, which reduces the amount of planning they have to perform for unencountered situations. These advantages become important as more intelligent systems are interfaced with the world and have to operate autonomously in complex environments. Agent-centered search methods have been applied to a variety of domains, including traditional search, strips-type planning, moving-target search, planning with totally and partially observable Markov decision process models, reinforcement learning, constraint satisfaction, and robot navigation.