New Islands of Tractability of Cost-Optimal Planning

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We study the complexity of cost-optimal classical planning over propositional state variables and unary-effect actions. We discover novel problem fragments for which such optimization is tractable, and identify certain conditions that differentiate between tractable and intractable problems. These results are based on exploiting both structural and syntactic characteristics of planning problems. Specifically, following Brafman and Domshlak (2003), we relate the complexity of planning and the topology of the causal graph. The main results correspond to tractability of cost-optimal planning for propositional problems with polytree causal graphs that either have O(1)-bounded in-degree, or are induced by actions having at most one prevail condition each. Almost all our tractability results are based on a constructive proof technique that connects between certain tools from planning and tractable constraint optimization, and we believe this technique is of interest on its own due to a clear evidence for its robustness.

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