Allocating Planning Effort When Actions Expire
Making plans that depend on external events can be tricky. For example, an agent considering a partial plan that involves taking a bus must recognize that this partial plan is only viable if completed and selected for execution in time for the agent to arrive at the bus stop. This setting raises the thorny problem of allocating the agent’s planning effort across multiple open search nodes, each of which has an expiration time and an expected completion effort in addition to the usual estimated plan cost. This paper formalizes this metareasoning problem, studies its theoretical properties, and presents several algorithms for solving it. Our theoretical results include a surprising connection to job scheduling, as well as to deliberation scheduling in time-dependent planning. Our empirical results indicate that our algorithms are effective in practice. This work advances our understanding of how heuristic search planners might address realistic problem settings.