Machinery for thinking about actions

  • Mark H. Lee
Part of the Open University Press Robotics Series book series (OUPRS)


In Chapter 4 we looked at the problems of perception, that is, the cognitive problems associated with sensory processing. Perception can usefully be sub-titled ‘thinking about sensing’. In this chapter, we will look at the problems associated with ‘thinking about actions’. This kind of thinking is also known as planning as it usually involves the creation of a plan of action. A plan is simply a series of operations or instructions that, when executed, will change a given starting situation into a desired or goal situation.


State Space Domain Knowledge Start State Hill Climbing Combinatorial Explosion 


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Further reading material

  1. Research on planning has continued with many developments beyond the state space search strategies described in this chapter. The ‘NOAH system’, by E. D. Sacerdoti in A Structure for Plans and Behavior (Elsevier, 1977), deals with hierarchies of partially-ordered plans, and is able to criticize and improve developing plans.Google Scholar
  2. The map navigation example in this chapter was taken, from R. J. Elliott and M. E. Lesk ‘Route Finding in Street Maps by Computers and People’, in Proc. AAAI-82, Pittsburgh, 1982.Google Scholar
  3. An early but classic paper on game playing is ‘Some studies in machine learning using the game of checkers II. Recent progress’, by A. L. Samuel, IBM Journal of Research and Development (1967), volume 2, number 6.Google Scholar
  4. The most comprehensive model of the blocks world was developed by S. E. Fahlman in ‘A planning system for robot construction tasks’, Artificial Intelligence (1974), Volume 5, Number 1, pp. 1–49.Google Scholar
  5. The goal-directed methodology is described in Artificial Intelligence (second edition, 1984), by Patrick Winston (Addison-Wesley).Google Scholar
  6. For more details of robot planning problems, Chapter 9 of Introduction to Artificial Intelligence,by E. Charniak and D. McDermott (Addison-Wesley, 1985), gives a good treatment of this area.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Mark H. Lee 1989

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  • Mark H. Lee

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