All PSPACE-Complete Planning Problems Are Equal but Some Are More Equal than Others
Complexity analysis of planning is problematic. Even very simple planning languages are PSPACE-complete, yet cannot model many simple problems naturally. Many languages with much more powerful features are also PSPACE-complete. It is thus difficult to separate planning languages in a useful way and to get complexity figures that better reflect reality. This paper introduces new methods for complexity analysis of planning and similar combinatorial search problems, in order to achieve more precision and complexity separations than standard methods allow. Padding instances with the solution size yields a complexity measure that is immune to this factor and reveals other causes of hardness, that are otherwise hidden. Further combining this method with limited non-determinism improves the precision, making even finer separations possible. We demonstrate with examples how these methods can narrow the gap between theory and practice.