Probabilistic Programs as an Action Description Language


  • Ronen I. Brafman Ben-Gurion University
  • David Tolpin Ben-Gurion University
  • Or Wertheim Ben Gurion University



Planning, Action Description Languages, Probabilistic Programs


Actions description languages (ADLs), such as STRIPS, PDDL, and RDDL specify the input format for planning algorithms. Unfortunately, their syntax is familiar to planning experts only, and not to potential users of planning technology. Moreover, this syntax limits the ability to describe complex and large domains. We argue that programming languages (PLs), and more specifically, probabilistic programming languages (PPLs), provide a more suitable alternative. PLs are familiar to all programmers, support complex data types and rich libraries for their manipulation, and have powerful constructs, such as loops, sub-routines, and local variables with which complex, realistic models and complex objectives can be simply and naturally specified. PPLs, specifically, make it easy to specify distributions, which is essential for stochastic models. The natural objection to this proposal is that PLs are opaque and too expressive, making reasoning about them difficult. However, PPLs also come with efficient inference algorithms, which, coupled with a growing body of work on sampling-based and gradient-based planning, imply that planning and execution monitoring can be carried out efficiently in practice. In this paper, we expand on this proposal, illustrating its potential with examples.




How to Cite

Brafman, R. I., Tolpin, D., & Wertheim, O. (2023). Probabilistic Programs as an Action Description Language. Proceedings of the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 37(13), 15351-15358.