Bringing Order to Chaos – A Compact Representation of Partial Order in SAT-Based HTN Planning

  • Gregor Behnke Ulm University
  • Daniel Höller Ulm University
  • Susanne Biundo Ulm University


HTN planning provides an expressive formalism to model complex application domains. It has been widely used in realworld applications. However, the development of domainindependent planning techniques for such models is still lacking behind. The need to be informed about both statetransitions and the task hierarchy makes the realisation of search-based approaches difficult, especially with unrestricted partial ordering of tasks in HTN domains. Recently, a translation of HTN planning problems into propositional logic has shown promising empirical results. Such planners benefit from a unified representation of state and hierarchy, but until now require very large formulae to represent partial order. In this paper, we introduce a novel encoding of HTN Planning as SAT. In contrast to related work, most of the reasoning on ordering relations is not left to the SAT solver, but done beforehand. This results in much smaller formulae and, as shown in our evaluation, in a planner that outperforms previous SAT-based approaches as well as the state-of-the-art in search-based HTN planning.

AAAI Technical Track: Planning, Routing, and Scheduling