Report Number: CS-TR-88-1236
Institution: Stanford University, Department of Computer Science
Title: Time for Action: On the Relation between Time, Knowledge, and Action
Author: Shoham, Yoav
Date: December 1988
Abstract: We consider the role played by the concept of action in AI. We first briefly summarize the advantages and limitations of past approaches to taking the concept as primitive, as embodied in the situation calculus and dynamic logic. We also briefly summarize the alternative, namely adopting a temporal framework, and point out its complementary advantages and limitations. We then propose a framework that retains the advantages of both viewpoints, and that ties the notion of action closely to that of knowledge. Specifically, we propose starting with the notion of time lines, and defining the notion of action as the ability to make certain choices among sets of time lines. Our definitions shed new light on the connection between time, action, knowledge and ignorance, choice-making, feasibility, and simultaneous reasoning about the same events at different levels of detail.