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Knowledge Engineering for Planning Domain Design. Ron Simpson University of Huddersfield. Automated Planning [A. I. Planning]. Mars Rover Courtesy of NASA/JLP-Caltech. Kitchen Rover. Domain Independent Planning. Declarative Descriptions of Desired State of World [Goal State]

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Knowledge engineering for planning domain design

Knowledge EngineeringforPlanning Domain Design

Ron Simpson

University of Huddersfield

Automated planning a i planning
Automated Planning [A. I. Planning]

Mars Rover Courtesy of NASA/JLP-Caltech

Kitchen Rover

Domain independent planning
Domain Independent Planning

  • Declarative Descriptions of

    • Desired State of World [Goal State]

    • Initial State of World

    • Actions available to agents

      • Pre Conditions

      • Post Conditions

  • Planning Problem

    • Synthesise ordered sequence of actions to bring about Goal State

Levels of ambition
Levels of Ambition

  • Classical

    • Deterministic / Complete / Omniscient

    • World described by lists of simple propositions. No numeric attributes.

    • Actions add or remove propositions from world description. Time not represented

  • Non Classical

    • Add notions of time to actions

    • Allow numeric attributes

    • Non Deterministic / Incomplete Knowledge

Knowledge engineering
Knowledge Engineering

  • Formalisms

    • Develop tractable formalisms capable of being reasoned with.

  • Visualisation

    • Develop tools/image systems to help users create and understand domain of interest.

  • Refractor

    • Develop transformation techniques to allow representations at differing levels of generality to co-exist.

Knowledge engineering for planning domain design

  • What

    • To develop methods and tools to assist in the :

      • Creation of planning domain specifications.

      • To assist in the task of domain specification validation and testing.

  • How

    • Develop higher level conceptualisations as modelling aids and support these with software tools.

      • Develop the object centric view of planning.

      • Build a prototype environment [GIPO] to demonstrate the utility of the view.

  • Scope

    • Currently classical planning with extensions to HTN Planning and planning with timed processes and numeric properties.

Object centric view
Object Centric View


  • Plans are strategies to bring about changes in the states of objects within the domain problem.

  • Domain design can be done by charting the possible state changes of the participating object types.

  • Assume all objects of same type have same potential.



State Description

Generic types
Generic Types

  • Patterns of state transitions reoccur in many domain definitions.

  • Domain definitions may be constructed by composing together common patterns of life histories.

Mobile + Bistate = Portable


  • Rules for defining the States of object types.

    • Identified by name – parameterised by object Ids

    • Enhanced by properties

      • Identified by property-name -parameterised by property value

  • Rules for defining state transitions.

    • Identified by name and links to source and target states.

  • Rules for merging.

    • Defines rendezvou between object transitions

      • Or object states and Transitions.

    • May augment state by adding association parameters to state predicates [See GIPO Help]

Hiking domain example 1
Hiking Domain – Example 1


Property Value Changing

Satisfies next(x,y)


Constraint – Number

Satisfies couple(x,y)


Property : Location

Value present in all

identified states.


State Changing








Transition of Tent:

Property Value Changing

Location to Location

Hiking domain example 2
Hiking Domain Example 2


Require Objects at State

Break Association

Forget Car


Dependent on Source

Both satisfy next(x,y)

Add Association

Record car

Must Occur Together

Tools integrated into gipo
Tools Integrated into GIPO

  • Graphical “Life History” Editor to define domains

  • Graphical editors to capture “Instance Information”

  • Auto generate specification from diagrams.

  • Create task specifications.

  • Run integrated planners to solve defined problems.

  • Graphically animate plans produced.

  • Manually create plans in a visual stepper.

  • Translate specifications to PDDL.

Instance and problem description
Instance and Problem Description

Available States for Sue

State for Sue



Animation of plan solutions
Animation of Plan Solutions




Inspect Object State

Manual plan creation stepper
Manual Plan Creation [Stepper]

Emerging Plan

Available Actions

Add Next Action – Choose action parameters

Representing time and numeric properties
Representing Time and Numeric Properties

  • Hybrid Automata

  • State Change Instantaneous – These are actions

    • may make changes to numeric properties and trigger processes

  • Processes take time.

    • Numeric properties may change as a function of time

  • Events (State Change) may be triggered by processes.

  • These - like processes happen as a result of actions

Filling bath domain
Filling Bath Domain

Event : when

level > capacity


Level = flow * #t

Process Trigger

flow(Bath) = flow(Tap)



Stepper for hybrid automata
Stepper For Hybrid Automata

Time line









  • Does the graphical conceptualisation simplify the task? How do we measure this?

  • What is the range of applicability of the technology?

  • Planning seems to be ubiquitous but when is it worthwhile to specify the domain problem?