Introduction to Symbolic Plan and Goal Recognition Reuth Mirsky

Reuth Mirsky, Sarah Keren, Christopher Geib

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Plan recognition, activity recognition, and goal recognition all involve making inferences about other actors based on observations of their interactions with the environment and other agents. This synergistic area of research combines, unites, and makes use of techniques and research from a wide range of areas including user modeling, machine vision, automated planning, intelligent user interfaces, human-computer interaction, autonomous and multi-agent systems, natural language understanding, and machine learning. It plays a crucial role in a wide variety of applications including assistive technology, software assistants, computer and network security, human-robot collaboration, natural language processing, video games, and many more. This wide range of applications and disciplines has produced a wealth of ideas, models, tools, and results in the recognition literature. However, it has also contributed to fragmentation in the field, with researchers publishing relevant results in a wide spectrum of journals and conferences. This book seeks to address this fragmentation by providing a high-level introduction and historical overview of the plan and goal recognition literature. It provides a description of the core elements that comprise these recognition problems and practical advice for modeling them. In particular, we define and distinguish the different recognition tasks. We formalize the major approaches to modeling these problems using a single motivating example. Finally, we describe a number of state-of-the-art systems and their extensions, future challenges, and some potential applications. Table of Contents: Preface / Acknowledgments / Introduction / Defining a Recognition Problem / Implicit vs.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSynthesis Lectures on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Subtitle of host publicationLecture #47
PublisherMorgan and Claypool Publishers
Number of pages120
ISBN (Electronic)9781636390413
StatePublished - 25 Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameSynthesis Lectures on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
ISSN (Print)1939-4608
ISSN (Electronic)1939-4616


  • activity recognition
  • behavior recognition
  • goal recognition
  • human - AI collaboration
  • intent recognition
  • multi-agent systems
  • plan recognition
  • reasoning under uncertainty
  • symbolic reasoning
  • temporal pattern recognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Artificial Intelligence


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