Maintenance of Plan Libraries for Case-Based Planning: Offline and Online Policies

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Alfonso Emilio Gerevini
Alessandro Saetti
Ivan Serina
Andrea Loreggia
Luca Putelli
Anna Roubickova


Case-based planning is an approach to planning where previous planning experience provides guidance to solving new problems. Such a guidance can be extremely useful, or even necessary, when the new problem is very hard to solve, or the stored previous experience is highly valuable, because, e.g., it was provided or validated by human experts, and the system should try to reuse it as much as possible. To do so, a case-based planning system stores in a library previous planning experience in the form of already encountered problems and their solutions.

The quality of such a plan library critically influences the performance of the planner, and therefore it needs to be carefully designed and created. For this reason, it is also important to update the library during the lifetime of the system, as the type of problems being addressed may evolve or differ from the ones the library was originally designed for. Moreover, like in general case-based reasoning, the library needs to be maintained at a manageable size, otherwise the computational cost of querying it grows excessively, making the entire approach ineffective.

In this paper, we formally define the problem of maintaining a library of cases, discuss which criteria should drive the maintenance, study the computational complexity of the maintenance problem, and propose offline techniques to reduce an oversized library that optimize different criteria. Moreover, we introduce a complementary online approach that attempts to limit the growth of the library, and we consider the combination of offline and online techniques to ensure the best performance of the case-based planner. Finally, we experimentally show the practical effectiveness of the offline and online methods for reducing the library.

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