On Analyzing Planning Applications

Yolanda Gil and Marc Linster

It is hard to evaluate in current planning applications what aspects of the approach address each of the complexities of the problem. This results from the fact that the planning community is lacking a vocabulary to describe planning tasks and apphcations. This work is an effort towards descriptions of planning applications in terms that are useful 1) to extract conclusions from particular implementations, 2) to facilitate cross-comparisons among different planners applied to the same problem, and 3) to facilitate comparisons among different tasks. We analyze the Sisyphus experience, a 3-year old and still ongoing effort in the knowledge acquisition community to enable a cross-comparison of their application systems as they implement a common pre-stated problem description. Based on this experience, we propose a set of dimensions to describe applications that distinghish between descriptions of the properties of the architecture, the type of problem, and the data sets. We show how they can be used to produce useful distictions in the context of the first Sisyphus task, which was an office assignment problem. Our hope is that the same dimensions will be useful to other researchers in describing and characterizing their applications, as well as a useful point of comparison for future Sisyphus efforts.

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