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  1. Robotic task planning is computationally challenging. To reduce planning cost and support life-long operation, we must leverage prior planning experience. To this end, we address the problem of extracting reusable and generalizable abstract skills from successful plan executions. In previous work, we introduced a supporting framework, allowing us, theoretically, to extract an abstract skill from a single execution and later automatically adapt it and reuse it in new domains. We also proved that, given a library of such skills, we can significantly reduce the planning effort for new problems. Nevertheless, until now, abstract-skill extraction could only be performed manually. In this paper, we finally close the automation loop and explain how abstract skills can be practically and automatically extracted. We start by analyzing the desired qualities of an abstract skill and formulate skill extraction as an optimization problem. We then develop two extraction algorithms, based on the novel concept of abstraction-critical state detection. As we show experimentally, the approach is independent of any planning domain. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 29, 2024
  2. Billard, A ; Asfour, T ; Khatib, O. (Ed.)
    Task planning is the problem of finding a discrete sequence of actions to achieve a goal. Unfortunately, task planning in robotic domains is computationally challenging. To address this, in our prior work, we explained how knowledge from a successful task solution can be cached for later use, as an “abstract skill.” Such a skill is represented as a trace of states (“road map”) in an abstract space and can be matched with new tasks on-demand. This paper explains how one can use a library of abstract skills, derived from past planning experience, to reduce the computational cost of solving new task planning problems. As we explain, matching a skill to a task allows us to decompose it into independent sub-tasks, which can be quickly solved in parallel. This can be done automatically and dynamically during planning. We begin by formulating this problem of “planning with skills” as a constraint satisfaction problem. We then provide a hierarchical solution algorithm, which integrates with any standard task planner. Finally, we experimentally demonstrate the computational benefits of the approach for reach-avoid tasks. 
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  3. Lal, A ; Tonetta, S. (Ed.)
    Reactive synthesis holds the promise of generating automatically a verifiably correct program from a high-level specification. A popular such specification language is Linear Temporal Logic (LTL). Unfortunately, synthesizing programs from general LTL formulas, which relies on first constructing a game arena and then solving the game, does not scale to large instances. The specifications from practical applications are usually large conjunctions of smaller LTL formulas, which inspires existing compositional synthesis approaches to take advantage of this structural information. The main challenge here is that they solve the game only after obtaining the game arena, the most computationally expensive part in the procedure. In this work, we propose a compositional synthesis technique to tackle this difficulty by synthesizing a program for each small conjunct separately and composing them one by one. While this approach does not work for general LTL formulas, we show here that it does work for Safety LTL formulas, a popular and important fragment of LTL. While we have to compose all the programs of small conjuncts in the worst case, we can prune the intermediate programs to make later compositions easier and immediately conclude unrealizable as soon as some part of the specification is found unrealizable. By comparing our compositional approach with a portfolio of all other approaches, we observed that our approach was able to solve a notable number of instances not solved by others. In particular, experiments on scalable conjunctive benchmarks showed that our approach scale well and significantly outperform current Safety LTL synthesis techniques. We conclude that our compositional approach is an important contribution to the algorithmic portfolio of Safety LTL synthesis. 
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  4. Synthesis techniques for temporal logic specifications are typically based on exploiting symbolic techniques, as done in model checking. These symbolic techniques typically use backward fixpoint computation. Planning, which can be seen as a specific form of synthesis, is a witness of the success of forward search approaches. In this paper, we develop a forward-search approach to full-fledged Linear Temporal Logic on finite traces (LTLf) synthesis. We show how to compute the Deterministic Finite Automaton (DFA) of an LTLf formula on-the-fly, while performing an adversarial forward search towards the final states, by considering the DFA as a sort of AND-OR graph. Our approach is characterized by branching on suitable propositional formulas, instead of individual evaluations, hence radically reducing the branching factor of the search space. Specifically, we take advantage of techniques developed for knowledge compilation, such as Sentential Decision Diagrams (SDDs), to implement the approach efficiently.

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