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Hybrid STAN: Identifying and managing combinatorial optimisation sub-problems in planning

Fox, M. and Long, D. (2001) Hybrid STAN: Identifying and managing combinatorial optimisation sub-problems in planning. In: Proceedings of International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 2001-08-04 - 2001-08-10.

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It is well-known that planning is hard but it is less well-known how to approach the hard parts of a problem instance effectively. Using static domain analysis techniques we can identify and abstract certain combinatorial sub-problems from a planning instance, and deploy specialised technology to solve these sub-problems in a way that is integrated with the broader planning activities. We have developed a hybrid planning system (STAN4) which brings together alternative planning strategies and specialised algorithms and selects them according to the structure of the planning domain. STAN4 participated successfully in the AIPS-2000 planning competition. We describe how sub-problem abstraction is done, with particular reference to route-planning abstraction, and present some of the competition data to demonstrate the potential power of the hybrid approach.