Probabilistic Programs as an Action Description Language

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Actions description languages (ADLs), such as STRIPS, PDDL, and RDDL specify the input format for planning algorithms. Unfortunately, their syntax is foreign to most potential users of planning technology. Moreover, this syntax limits the ability to describe complex and large domains. We argue that programming languages (PLs), and more specifically, probabilistic programming languages (PPLs), provide a more suitable alternative. PLs are familiar to all programmers, support complex data types and rich libraries for their manipulation, and have powerful constructs, such as loops, sub-routines, and local variables with which complex, realistic models and complex objectives can be simply and naturally specified. PPLs, specifically, make it easy to specify distributions, which are essential for stochastic models. The natural objection to this proposal is that PLs are opaque and too expressive, making reasoning about them difficult. However, PPLs also come with efficient inference algorithms, which, coupled with a growing body of work on sampling-based and gradient-based planning, imply that planning and execution monitoring can be carried out efficiently in practice. We expand on this proposal, illustrating its potential with examples.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAAAI-23 Special Programs, IAAI-23, EAAI-23, Student Papers and Demonstrations
EditorsBrian Williams, Yiling Chen, Jennifer Neville
PublisherAAAI press
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781577358800
StatePublished - 27 Jun 2023
Event37th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, AAAI 2023 - Washington, United States
Duration: 7 Feb 202314 Feb 2023

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 37th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, AAAI 2023


Conference37th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, AAAI 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Artificial Intelligence


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