Width and serialization of classical planning problems


We introduce a width parameter that bounds the complexity of classical planning problems and domains, along with a simple but effective blind-search procedure that runs in time that is exponential in the problem width. We show that many benchmark domains have a bounded and small width provided that goals are restricted to single atoms, and hence that such problems are provably solvable in low polynomial time. We then focus on the practical value of these ideas over the existing benchmarks which feature conjunctive goals. We show that the blind-search procedure can be used for both serializing the goal into subgoals and for solving the resulting problems, resulting in a ‘blind’ planner that competes well with a best-first search planner guided by state-of-the-art heuristics. In addition, ideas like helpful actions and landmarks can be integrated as well, producing a planner with state-of-the-art performance.

Proceedings of the 20th European Conference on Artificial Intelligence (ECAI)