Rule-based Shielding for Partially Observable Monte-Carlo Planning


  • Giulio Mazzi Università degli Studi di Verona
  • Alberto Castellini Università degli Studi di Verona
  • Alessandro Farinelli Università degli Studi di Verona


Learning For Planning And Scheduling, Plan And Schedule Execution, Monitoring And Repair


Partially Observable Monte-Carlo Planning (POMCP) is a powerful online algorithm able to generate approximate policies for large Partially Observable Markov Decision Processes. The online nature of this method supports scalability by avoiding complete policy representation. The lack of an explicit representation however hinders policy interpretability and makes policy verification very complex. In this work, we propose two contributions. The first is a method for identifying unexpected actions selected by POMCP with respect to expert prior knowledge of the task. The second is a shielding approach that prevents POMCP from selecting unexpected actions. The first method is based on Satisfiability Modulo Theory (SMT). It inspects traces (i.e., sequences of belief-action-observation triplets) generated by POMCP to compute the parameters of logical formulas about policy properties defined by the expert. The second contribution is a module that uses online the logical formulas to identify anomalous actions selected by POMCP and substitute those actions with actions that satisfy the logical formulas fulfilling expert knowledge. We evaluate our approach on Tiger, a standard benchmark for POMDPs, and a real-world problem related to mobile robot navigation. Results show that the shielded POMCP outperforms the standard POMCP in a case study in which a wrong parameter of POMCP makes it select wrong actions from time to time. Moreover, we show that the approach keeps good performance also if the parameters of the logical formula are optimized using trajectories containing some wrong actions.




How to Cite

Mazzi, G., Castellini, A., & Farinelli, A. (2021). Rule-based Shielding for Partially Observable Monte-Carlo Planning. Proceedings of the International Conference on Automated Planning and Scheduling, 31(1), 243-251. Retrieved from