06-02562 Planning

Dr Manfred Kerber Dr Mateja Jamnik

10 credit module Semester 2
not available every year, available next in the academic year 1999/2000

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On completion of this course, the student should:


Basic knowledge of AI Techniques and Logic. Some programming knowledge in Pop11 is helpful in order to benefit from the implementation examples, but not necessary.

Teaching Methods

The course has two components. In the first, the basic knowledge about planning is presented in a mixture of conventional lectures and exercise classes (together 2 hours per week throughout that part of the course). In the second, each student gives a presentation of a recent research paper.


The course will be assessed to 80% by a 2-hour unseen examination in May (on the material of the first component) and to 20% on the basis of the preparation and the presentation of a seminar. Presence of all participants is obligatory for this part of the course.

Recommended Books: Sections on planning in

Title Author(s) Publisher Comments
Artificial Intelligence - A Modern Approach Stuart Russell & Peter Norvig Prentice Hall 1995 Further Reading
Artificial Intelligence, 2nd Edition Elaine Rich & Kevin Knight McGraw-Hill 1994 Further Reading
Artificial Intelligence, Third edition Patrick Henry Winston Addison-Wesley 1992 Further Reading

Detailed Syllabus and Relevant Links

The following courses are currently planned, modifications are possible: (Slides and Exercises are available in gzipped PostScript files, during the course, spare copies can be found in the School's library, these should be taken first in order not to waste printer resources. The files will be made readable after the corresponding lectures.)

Week Lecturer Content Slides Exercises
1Manfred Basic notions of planning (Goals, Blocks world, Deductive Planning) Frame Problem, frame axioms (tractability), planning as search (breadth-first search, depth-first search, heuristic search) l1.ps.gz l1.pdf e1.ps.gz e1.pdf
2Manfred Planning with STRIPS, Representation, Search, Limits (interaction of partial goals, unsolvable problems), Planning for simultaneous goals (Solution to the so-called Sussman anomaly) l2.ps.gz l2.pdf e2.ps.gz e2.pdf
3Manfred Non-Linear Planning (basic idea and notions, classification and solution of conflicts, critics), Linear vs. non-linear planning l3.ps.gz l3.pdf e3.ps.gz e3.pdf
4Manfred Hierarchical Planning (Planning with abstraction of situations, Planning with abstraction of operators) l4.ps.gz l4.pdf e4.ps.gz e4.pdf
5Mateja Increasing the Flexibility in Planning l5.ps.gz l5.pdf e5.ps.gz e5.pdf
6Mateja Conditional Planning (sensing, dependence on unknown facts) l6.ps.gz l6.pdf e6.ps.gz e6.pdf
7Mateja Reactivity vs Deliberation l7.ps.gz l7.pdf e7.ps.gz e7.pdf
8Mateja Distributed Planning l8.ps.gz l8.pdf e8.ps.gz e8.pdf
9MatejaMulti-agent planning l9.ps.gz l9.pdf e9.ps.gz e9.pdf
11StudentsStudent presentations  
12StudentsStudent presentations  

You can find some Pop11 programs on general search and STRIPS in the following table. Furthermore there are two examples with OTTER input to demonstrate the idea of the situation calculus.

Topic Program Fragment
General Search (without loopcheck)search.p
General Search (with loopcheck)search-w-loopcheck.p
Problem description of the kitchen problemkitchen.p
Otter Example (without frame axioms)otter1.in otter1.out
Otter Example (with frame axioms)otter2.in otter2.out

In the second part of the course, participants of the course will give presentations of research papers from the following list, available as dvi, PostScript, PostScript.
A schedule for the student talks will be made available as ascii, dvi, Postscript, and pdf.
The criteria for assessing the presentations can be found as ascii, dvi, Postscript, and pdf files.
For the two extra lectures necessary to fit in all presentations we've booked on 5th May 11:00-12:00 and on 12th May 11:00-13:00 room Hills 216.

The 1998 planning exam paper (there wasn't a planning course in 1999) inclusively answers can be found as gzipped Postscript, and pdf files.

The exam in 2000 has a different structure, namely there will be five questions, each worth 25% and you have to answer four of them.

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Maintained by M.Kerber@cs.bham.ac.uk
School of Computer Science
The University of Birmingham

Last update 24 May 2000