Belief Tracking for Planning with Sensing: Width, Complexity and Approximations

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Abstract

We consider the problem of belief tracking in a planning setting where states are valuations over a set of variables that are partially observable, and beliefs stand for the sets of states that are possible. While the problem is intractable in the worst case, it has been recently shown that in deterministic conformant and contingent problems, belief tracking is exponential in a width parameter that is often bounded and small. In this work, we extend these results in two ways. First, we introduce a width notion that applies to non-deterministic problems as well, develop a factored belief tracking algorithm that is exponential in the problem width, and show how it applies to existing benchmarks. Second, we introduce a meaningful, powerful, and sound approximation scheme, beam tracking, that is exponential in a smaller parameter, the problem causal width, and has much broader applicability. We illustrate the value of this algorithm over large instances of problems such as Battleship, Minesweeper, and Wumpus, where it yields state-of-the-art performance in real-time.

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