Comparative criteria for partially observable contingent planning

Dorin Shmaryahu, Guy Shani, Jörg Hoffmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


In contingent planning under partial observability with sensing actions, agents actively use sensing to discover meaningful facts about the world. The solution can be represented as a plan tree or graph, branching on various possible observations. Typically in contingent planning one seeks a satisfying plan leading to a goal state at each leaf. In many applications, however, one may prefer some satisfying plans to others, such as plans that lead to the goal with a lower average cost. However, methods such as average cost make an implicit assumption concerning the probabilities of outcomes, which may not apply when the stochastic dynamics of the environment are unknown. We focus on the problem of providing valid comparative criteria for contingent plan trees and graphs, allowing us to compare two plans and decide which one is preferable. We suggest a set of such comparison criteria—plan simplicity, dominance, and best and worst plan costs.We also argue that in some cases certain branches of the plan correspond to an unlikely combination of mishaps, and can be ignored, and provide methods for pruning such unlikely branches before comparing the plan graphs. We explain these criteria, and discuss their validity, correlations, and application to real world problems. We also suggest efficient algorithms for computing the comparative criteria where needed. We provide experimental results, showing that existing contingent planners provide diverse plans, that can be compared using these criteria.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)481-517
Number of pages37
JournalAutonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2019


  • Comparative Criteria
  • Contingent planning
  • Partial observability
  • Plan tree
  • Planning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Artificial Intelligence


Dive into the research topics of 'Comparative criteria for partially observable contingent planning'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this