ITSAT: An Efficient SAT-Based Temporal Planner

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Planning as satisfiability is known as an efficient approach to deal with many types of planning problems. However, this approach has not been competitive with the state-space based methods in temporal planning. This paper describes ITSAT as an efficient SAT-based (satisfiability based) temporal planner capable of temporally expressive planning. The novelty of ITSAT lies in the way it handles temporal constraints of given problems without getting involved in the difficulties of introducing continuous variables into the corresponding satisfiability problems. We also show how, as in SAT-based classical planning, carefully devised preprocessing and encoding schemata can considerably improve the efficiency of SAT-based temporal planning. We present two preprocessing methods for mutex relation extraction and action compression. We also show that the separation of causal and temporal reasoning enables us to employ compact encodings that are based on the concept of parallel execution semantics. Although such encodings have been shown to be quite effective in classical planning, ITSAT is the first temporal planner utilizing this type of encoding. Our empirical results show that not only does ITSAT outperform the state-of-the-art temporally expressive planners, it is also competitive with the fast temporal planners that cannot handle required concurrency.

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