AAAI Publications, Twenty-Fourth AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence

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SixthSense: Fast and Reliable Recognition of Dead Ends in MDPs
Andrey Kolobov, ' Mausam, Daniel Weld

Last modified: 2010-07-04


The results of the latest International Probabilistic Planning Competition (IPPC-2008) indicate that the presence of dead ends, states with no trajectory to the goal, makes MDPs hard for modern probabilistic planners. Implicit dead ends, states with executable actions but no path to the goal, are particularly challenging; existing MDP solvers spend much time and memory identifying these states. As a first attempt to address this issue, we propose a machine learning algorithm called SIXTHSENSE. SIXTHSENSE helps existing MDP solvers by finding nogoods, conjunctions of literals whose truth in a state implies that the state is a dead end. Importantly, our learned nogoods are sound, and hence the states they identify are true dead ends. SIXTHSENSE is very fast, needs little training data, and takes only a small fraction of total planning time. While IPPC problems may have millions of dead ends, they may typically be represented with only a dozen or two no-goods. Thus, nogood learning efficiently produces a quick and reliable means for dead-end recognition. Our experiments show that the nogoods found by SIXTHSENSE routinely reduce planning space and time on IPPC domains, enabling some planners to solve problems they could not previously handle.

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