Giuseppe De Giacomo, Hector Levesque
Like classical planning, the execution of high-level agent programs requires a reasoner to look all the way to a final goal state before even a single action can be taken in the world. This deferral is a serious problem in practice for large programs. Furthermore, the problem is compounded in the presence of sensing actions which provide necessary information, but only after they are executed in the world. To deal with this, we propose (characterize formally in the situation calculus, and implement in Prolog) a new incremental way of interpreting such high-level programs and a new high-level language construct, which together, and without loss of generality, allow much more control to be exercised over when actions can be executed. We argue that such a scheme is the only practical way to deal with large agent programs containing both nondeterminism and sensing.