Report Number: CS-TR-94-1512
Institution: Stanford University, Department of Computer Science
Title: Abstraction Planning in Real Time
Author: Washington, Richard
Date: April 1994
Abstract: When a planning agent works in a complex, real-world domain, it is unable to plan for and store all possible contingencies and problem situations ahead of time. The agent needs to be able to fall back on an ability to construct plans at run time under time constraints. This thesis presents a method for planning at run time that incrementally builds up plans at multiple levels of abstraction. The plans are continually updated by information from the world, allowing the planner to adjust its plan to a changing world during the planning process. All the information is represented over intervals of time, allowing the planner to reason about durations, deadlines, and delays within its plan. In addition to the method, the thesis presents a formal model of the planning process and uses the model to investigate planning strategies. The method has been implemented, and experiments have been run to validate the overall approach and the theoretical model.