The 2003International Conference on Automated Planning and Scheduling (ICAPS-03) was held 9 to 13 June 2003 in Trento, Italy. It was chaired by Enrico Giunchiglia (University of Genova), Nicola Muscettola (NASA Ames), and Dana Nau (University of Maryland). Piergiorgio Bertoli and Marco Benedetti (both from ITC-IRST) were the local chair and the workshop-tutorial coordination chair, respectively.
Shop is a hierarchical task network planning algorithm that is provably sound and complete across a large class of planning domains. It plans for tasks in the same order that they will later be executed, and thus, it knows the current world state at each step of the planning process. For example, shop's preconditions can include logical inferences, complex numeric computations, and calls to external programs.
A computer program that uses AI planning techniques is now the world champion computer program in the game of Contract Bridge. As reported in The New York Times and The Washington Post, this program -- a new version of Great Game Products' BRIDGE BARON program -- won the Baron Barclay World Bridge Computer Challenge, an international competition hosted in July 1997 by the American Contract Bridge League. It is well known that the game tree search techniques used in computer programs for games such as Chess and Checkers work differently from how humans think about such games. This article gives an overview of the planning techniques that we have incorporated into the BRIDGE BARON and discusses what the program's victory signifies for research on AI planning and game playing.