AAAI Publications, Twenty-Ninth AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence

Font Size: 
Efficient Bounds in Heuristic Search Algorithms for Stochastic Shortest Path Problems
Eric A. Hansen, Ibrahim Abdoulahi

Last modified: 2015-03-04


Fully observable decision-theoretic planning problems are commonly modeled as stochastic shortest path (SSP) problems. For this class of planning problems, heuristic search algorithms (including LAO*, RTDP, and related algorithms), as well as the value iteration algorithm on which they are based, lack an efficient test for convergence to an ε-optimal policy (except in the special case of discounting). We introduce a simple and efficient test for convergence that applies to SSP problems with positive action costs. The test can detect whether a policy is proper, that is, whether it achieves the goal state with probability 1. If proper, it gives error bounds that can be used to detect convergence to an ε-optimal solution. The convergence test incurs no extra overhead besides computing the Bellman residual, and the performance guarantee it provides substantially improves the utility of this class of planning algorithms.

Full Text: PDF