SAT-Based Parallel Planning Using a Split Representation of Actions

Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Automated Planning and Scheduling (ICAPS 2009), 2009
Planning based on propositional SAT(isfiability) is a powerful approach to computing step-optimal plans given a parallel execution semantics. In this setting: (i) a solution plan must be minimal in the number of plan steps required, and (ii) non-conflicting actions can be executed instantaneously in parallel at a plan step. Underlying SAT-based approaches is the invocation of a decision procedure on a SAT encoding of a bounded version of the problem. A fundamental limitation of existing approaches is the size of these encodings. This problem stems from the use of a direct representation of actions -- i.e. each action has a corresponding variable in the encoding. A longtime goal in planning has been to mitigate this limitation by developing a more compact split -- also termed lifted -- representation of actions in SAT encodings of parallel step-optimal problems. This paper describes such a representation. In particular, each action and each parallel execution of actions is represented uniquely as a conjunct of variables. Here, each variable is derived from action pre and post-conditions. Because multiple actions share conditions, our encoding of the planning constraints is factored and relatively compact. We find experimentally that our encoding yields a much more efficient and scalable planning procedure over the state-of-the-art in a large set of planning benchmarks.


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