AAAI Publications, Nineteenth International Conference on Automated Planning and Scheduling

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Automatic Derivation of Memoryless Policies and Finite-State Controllers Using Classical Planners
Blai Bonet, Héctor Palacios, Héctor Geffner

Last modified: 2009-10-16


Finite-state and memoryless controllers are simple action selection mechanisms widely used in domains such as video-games and mobile robotics.  Memoryless controllers stand for functions that map observations into actions, while finite-state controllers generalize memoryless ones with a finite amount of memory.  In contrast to the policies obtained from MDPs and POMDPs, finite-state controllers have two advantages: they are often extremely compact, involving a small number of controller states or none at all, and they are general, applying to many problems and not just one. A limitation of finite-state controllers is that they must be written by hand. In this work, we address this limitation, and develop a method for deriving finite-state controllers automatically from models. These models represent a class of contingent problems where actions are deterministic and some fluents are observable.  The problem of deriving a controller from such models is converted into a conformant planning problem that is solved using classical planners, taking advantage of a complete translation introduced recently.  The controllers derived in this way are 'general' in the sense that they do not solve the original problem only, but many variations as well, including changes in the size of the problem or in the uncertainty of the initial situation and action effects.  Experiments illustrating the derivation of such controllers are presented.


Finite-state controllers; contingent planning; domain-independent planning; conformant planning

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