Collaborating Authors

Planning & Scheduling: Overviews

Answer Set Planning: A Survey Artificial Intelligence

Answer Set Planning refers to the use of Answer Set Programming (ASP) to compute plans, i.e., solutions to planning problems, that transform a given state of the world to another state. The development of efficient and scalable answer set solvers has provided a significant boost to the development of ASP-based planning systems. This paper surveys the progress made during the last two and a half decades in the area of answer set planning, from its foundations to its use in challenging planning domains. The survey explores the advantages and disadvantages of answer set planning. It also discusses typical applications of answer set planning and presents a set of challenges for future research.

A Research Agenda for AI Planning in the Field of Flexible Production Systems Artificial Intelligence

Manufacturing companies face challenges when it comes to quickly adapting their production control to fluctuating demands or changing requirements. Control approaches that encapsulate production functions as services have shown to be promising in order to increase the flexibility of Cyber-Physical Production Systems. But an existing challenge of such approaches is finding a production plan based on provided functionalities for a demanded product, especially when there is no direct (i.e., syntactic) match between demanded and provided functions. While there is a variety of approaches to production planning, flexible production poses specific requirements that are not covered by existing research. In this contribution, we first capture these requirements for flexible production environments. Afterwards, an overview of current Artificial Intelligence approaches that can be utilized in order to overcome the aforementioned challenges is given. For this purpose, we focus on planning algorithms, but also consider models of production systems that can act as inputs to these algorithms. Approaches from both symbolic AI planning as well as approaches based on Machine Learning are discussed and eventually compared against the requirements. Based on this comparison, a research agenda is derived.

A Survey of Opponent Modeling in Adversarial Domains

Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research

Opponent modeling is the ability to use prior knowledge and observations in order to predict the behavior of an opponent. This survey presents a comprehensive overview of existing opponent modeling techniques for adversarial domains, many of which must address stochastic, continuous, or concurrent actions, and sparse, partially observable payoff structures. We discuss all the components of opponent modeling systems, including feature extraction, learning algorithms, and strategy abstractions. These discussions lead us to propose a new form of analysis for describing and predicting the evolution of game states over time. We then introduce a new framework that facilitates method comparison, analyze a representative selection of techniques using the proposed framework, and highlight common trends among recently proposed methods. Finally, we list several open problems and discuss future research directions inspired by AI research on opponent modeling and related research in other disciplines.

Forecasting: theory and practice Machine Learning

Forecasting has always been at the forefront of decision making and planning. The uncertainty that surrounds the future is both exciting and challenging, with individuals and organisations seeking to minimise risks and maximise utilities. The large number of forecasting applications calls for a diverse set of forecasting methods to tackle real-life challenges. This article provides a non-systematic review of the theory and the practice of forecasting. We provide an overview of a wide range of theoretical, state-of-the-art models, methods, principles, and approaches to prepare, produce, organise, and evaluate forecasts. We then demonstrate how such theoretical concepts are applied in a variety of real-life contexts. We do not claim that this review is an exhaustive list of methods and applications. However, we wish that our encyclopedic presentation will offer a point of reference for the rich work that has been undertaken over the last decades, with some key insights for the future of forecasting theory and practice. Given its encyclopedic nature, the intended mode of reading is non-linear. We offer cross-references to allow the readers to navigate through the various topics. We complement the theoretical concepts and applications covered by large lists of free or open-source software implementations and publicly-available databases.

Planning with Biological Neurons and Synapses Artificial Intelligence

We revisit the planning problem in the blocks world, and we implement a known heuristic for this task. Importantly, our implementation is biologically plausible, in the sense that it is carried out exclusively through the spiking of neurons. Even though much has been accomplished in the blocks world over the past five decades, we believe that this is the first algorithm of its kind. The input is a sequence of symbols encoding an initial set of block stacks as well as a target set, and the output is a sequence of motion commands such as "put the top block in stack 1 on the table". The program is written in the Assembly Calculus, a recently proposed computational framework meant to model computation in the brain by bridging the gap between neural activity and cognitive function. Its elementary objects are assemblies of neurons (stable sets of neurons whose simultaneous firing signifies that the subject is thinking of an object, concept, word, etc.), its commands include project and merge, and its execution model is based on widely accepted tenets of neuroscience. A program in this framework essentially sets up a dynamical system of neurons and synapses that eventually, with high probability, accomplishes the task. The purpose of this work is to establish empirically that reasonably large programs in the Assembly Calculus can execute correctly and reliably; and that rather realistic -- if idealized -- higher cognitive functions, such as planning in the blocks world, can be implemented successfully by such programs.

A prediction-based approach for online dynamic radiotherapy scheduling Artificial Intelligence

Patient scheduling is a difficult task as it involves dealing with stochastic factors such as an unknown arrival flow of patients. Scheduling radiotherapy treatments for cancer patients faces a similar problem. Curative patients need to start their treatment within the recommended deadlines, i.e., 14 or 28 days after their admission while reserving treatment capacity for palliative patients who require urgent treatments within 1 to 3 days after their admission. Most cancer centers solve the problem by reserving a fixed number of treatment slots for emergency patients. However, this flat-reservation approach is not ideal and can cause overdue treatments for emergency patients on some days while not fully exploiting treatment capacity on some other days, which also leads to delaying treatment for curative patients. This problem is especially severe in large and crowded hospitals. In this paper, we propose a prediction-based approach for online dynamic radiotherapy scheduling. An offline problem where all future patient arrivals are known in advance is solved to optimality using Integer Programming. A regression model is then trained to recognize the links between patients' arrival patterns and their ideal waiting time. The trained regression model is then embedded in a prediction-based approach that schedules a patient based on their characteristics and the present state of the calendar. The numerical results show that our prediction-based approach efficiently prevents overdue treatments for emergency patients while maintaining a good waiting time compared to other scheduling approaches based on a flat-reservation policy.

Split Moves for Monte-Carlo Tree Search Artificial Intelligence

In many games, moves consist of several decisions made by the player. These decisions can be viewed as separate moves, which is already a common practice in multi-action games for efficiency reasons. Such division of a player move into a sequence of simpler / lower level moves is called \emph{splitting}. So far, split moves have been applied only in forementioned straightforward cases, and furthermore, there was almost no study revealing its impact on agents' playing strength. Taking the knowledge-free perspective, we aim to answer how to effectively use split moves within Monte-Carlo Tree Search (MCTS) and what is the practical impact of split design on agents' strength. This paper proposes a generalization of MCTS that works with arbitrarily split moves. We design several variations of the algorithm and try to measure the impact of split moves separately on efficiency, quality of MCTS, simulations, and action-based heuristics. The tests are carried out on a set of board games and performed using the Regular Boardgames General Game Playing formalism, where split strategies of different granularity can be automatically derived based on an abstract description of the game. The results give an overview of the behavior of agents using split design in different ways. We conclude that split design can be greatly beneficial for single- as well as multi-action games.

A Survey of Algorithms for Black-Box Safety Validation of Cyber-Physical Systems

Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research

Autonomous cyber-physical systems (CPS) can improve safety and efficiency for safety-critical applications, but require rigorous testing before deployment. The complexity of these systems often precludes the use of formal verification and real-world testing can be too dangerous during development. Therefore, simulation-based techniques have been developed that treat the system under test as a black box operating in a simulated environment. Safety validation tasks include finding disturbances in the environment that cause the system to fail (falsification), finding the most-likely failure, and estimating the probability that the system fails. Motivated by the prevalence of safety-critical artificial intelligence, this work provides a survey of state-of-the-art safety validation techniques for CPS with a focus on applied algorithms and their modifications for the safety validation problem. We present and discuss algorithms in the domains of optimization, path planning, reinforcement learning, and importance sampling. Problem decomposition techniques are presented to help scale algorithms to large state spaces, which are common for CPS. A brief overview of safety-critical applications is given, including autonomous vehicles and aircraft collision avoidance systems. Finally, we present a survey of existing academic and commercially available safety validation tools.

A guided journey through non-interactive automatic story generation Artificial Intelligence

We present a literature survey on non-interactive computational story generation. The article starts with the presentation of requirements for creative systems, three types of models of creativity (computational, socio-cultural, and individual), and models of human creative writing. Then it reviews each class of story generation approach depending on the used technology: story-schemas, analogy, rules, planning, evolutionary algorithms, implicit knowledge learning, and explicit knowledge learning. Before the concluding section, the article analyses the contributions of the reviewed work to improve the quality of the generated stories. This analysis addresses the description of the story characters, the use of narrative knowledge including about character believability, and the possible lack of more comprehensive or more detailed knowledge or creativity models. Finally, the article presents concluding remarks in the form of suggestions of research topics that might have a significant impact on the advancement of the state of the art on autonomous non-interactive story generation systems. The article concludes that the autonomous generation and adoption of the main idea to be conveyed and the autonomous design of the creativity ensuring criteria are possibly two of most important topics for future research.

Distributed Allocation and Scheduling of Tasks with Cross-Schedule Dependencies for Heterogeneous Multi-Robot Teams Artificial Intelligence

To enable safe and efficient use of multi-robot systems in everyday life, a robust and fast method for coordinating their actions must be developed. In this paper, we present a distributed task allocation and scheduling algorithm for missions where the tasks of different robots are tightly coupled with temporal and precedence constraints. The approach is based on representing the problem as a variant of the vehicle routing problem, and the solution is found using a distributed metaheuristic algorithm based on evolutionary computation (CBM-pop). Such an approach allows a fast and near-optimal allocation and can therefore be used for online replanning in case of task changes. Simulation results show that the approach has better computational speed and scalability without loss of optimality compared to the state-of-the-art distributed methods. An application of the planning procedure to a practical use case of a greenhouse maintained by a multi-robot system is given.