AAAI Publications, Eighth Symposium on Abstraction, Reformulation, and Approximation

Font Size: 
Downward Path Preserving State Space Abstractions (Extended Abstract)
Sandra Zilles, Robert C. Holte

Last modified: 2009-10-22


A problem that often arises in using abstraction is the generation of abstract states, called spurious states, that are—in the abstract space—reachable from some abstract image of a state s, but which have no corresponding state in the original space reachable from s. Spurious states can have a negative effect on pattern database sizes and heuristic quality. We formally define a property—the downward path preserving property (DPP)—that guarantees an abstraction has no spurious states. Analyzing the computational complexity of (i) testing the DPP property for a given state space and abstraction and of (ii) determining whether this property is achievable at all for a given state space, results in strong hardness theorems. On the positive side, we identify formal conditions under which finding DPP abstractions is tractable.


abstraction; heuristic search; planning; computational complexity

Full Text: PDF