Conformant Planning via Heuristic Forward Search: A New Approach

Ronen I. Brafman and Jörg Hoffmann

Conformant planning is the task of generating plans given uncertainty about the initial state and action effects, and without any sensing capabilities during plan execution. The plan should be successful regardless of which particular initial world we start from. It is well known that conformant planning can be transformed into a search problem in belief space, the space whose elements are sets of possible worlds. We introduce a new representation of that search space, replacing the need to store sets of possible worlds with a need to reason about the effects of action sequences. The reasoning is done by deciding solvability of CNFs that capture the action sequence’s semantics. Based on this approach, we extend the classical heuristic planning system FF to the conformant setting. The key to this extension is the introduction of approximative CNF reasoning in FF’s heuristic function. Our experimental evaluation shows Conformant-FF to be superior to the state-of-the-art conformant planners MBP, KACMBP, and GPT in a variety of benchmark domains.

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