There's More to Life Than Making Plans: Plan Management in Dynamic, Multiagent Environments

Martha E. Pollack, John F. Horty

Abstract


For many years, research in AI plan generation was governed by a number of strong, simplifying assumptions: The planning agent is omniscient, its actions are deterministic and instantaneous, its goals are fixed and categorical, and its environment is static. More recently, researchers have developed expanded planning algorithms that are not predicated on such assumptions, but changing the way in which plans are formed is only part of what is required when the classical assumptions are abandoned. The demands of dynamic, uncertain environments mean that in addition to being able to form plans -- even probabilistic, uncertain plans -- agents must be able to effectively manage their plans. In this article, which is based on a talk given at the 1998 AAAI Fall Symposium on Distributed, Continual Planning, we first identify reasoning tasks that are involved in plan management, including commitment management, environment monitoring, alternative assessment, plan elaboration, metalevel control, and coordination with other agents. We next survey approaches we have developed to many of these tasks and discuss a plan-management system we are building to ground our theoretical work, by providing us with a platform for integrating our techniques and exploring their value in a realistic problem. Throughout, our discussion is informal and relies on numerous examples; the reader can consult the various papers cited for technical details.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1609/aimag.v20i4.1481

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