MUM: A technique for maximising the utility of macro-operators by constrained generation and use

Research output: Contribution to journalConference article

15 Citations (Scopus)


Research into techniques that reformulate problems to make general solvers more efficiently derive solutions has attracted much attention, in particular when the reformulation process is to some degree solver and domain independent. There are major challenges to overcome when applying such techniques to automated planning, however: reformulation methods such as adding macro-operators (macros, for short) can be detrimental because they tend to increase branching factors during solution search, while other methods such as learning entanglements can limit a planner's space of potentially solvable problems (its coverage) through over-pruning. These techniques may therefore work well with some domain-problem-planner combinations, but work poorly with others. In this paper we introduce a new learning technique (MUM) for synthesising macros from training example plans in order to improve the speed and coverage of do-main independent automated planning engines. MUM embodies domain independent constraints for selecting macro candidates, for generating macros, and for lim-iting the size of the grounding set of learned macros, therefore maximising the utility of used macros. Our empirical results with IPC benchmark domains and a range of state of the art planners demonstrate the ad-vance that MUM makes to the increased coverage and efficiency of the planners. Comparisons with a previous leading macro learning mechanism further demonstrate MUM's capability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-73
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings International Conference on Automated Planning and Scheduling, ICAPS
Issue numberJanuary
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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