IJCAI 2021
Conference paper

Efficient Black-box Planning using Macro Actions with Focused Effects

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The difficulty of classical planning increases exponentially with search-tree depth. Heuristic search can make planning more efficient, but good heuristics can be expensive to compute or may require domain-specific information, and such information may not even be available in the more general case of black-box planning. Rather than treating a given planning problem as fixed and carefully constructing a heuristic to match it, we instead rely on the simple and general-purpose “goal-count” heuristic and construct macro actions to make it more accurate. Our approach searches for macro-actions with focused effects (i.e. macros that modify only a small number of state variables), which align well with the assumptions made by the goal-count heuristic. Our method discovers macros that dramatically improve black-box planning efficiency across a wide range of planning domains, including Rubik’s cube, where it generates fewer states than the state-of-the-art LAMA planner with access to the full SAS+ representation.