An Architecture for a Synthetic Vacuum Cleaner

R. James Firby

This paper discusses three increasingly complex definitions of the vacuum cleaning task. Each definition requires different capabilities in the vacuuming agent and hence different internal software architectures. However, the definitions suggested form a progression from reactive, to synthetic, to intelligent, and the lessons learned looking at one problem supply important insights for tackling the next. The paper then describes the Animate Agent project which defines an architecture for robot control that attempts to embody both the reactive methods of control required in simple vacuum cleaners and the symbolic methods of situation classification and plan choice required by synthetic vacuum cleaners.

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