Novel Is Not Always Better: On the Relation between Novelty and Dominance Pruning
Novelty pruning is a planning technique that focuses on exploring states that are novel, i.e., those containing facts that have not been seen before. This seemingly simple idea has had a huge impact on the state of the art in planning though its effectiveness is not entirely understood yet.
We relate novelty to dominance pruning, which compares states to previously seen states to eliminate those that are provably worse in terms of goal distance. Novelty can be interpreted as an unsafe approximation of dominance, where states containing novel facts are relevant because they enable new paths to the goal and, therefore, they are less likely to be dominated by others. This provides a framework to understand the success of novelty, resulting in new variants that combine both techniques.