Reactive versus Deliberative Planning

Some months ago I attended an interesting conference from Kanna Rajan,   principal Researcher for Autonomy at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, held at the IACTIVE Intelligent Solutions office in Granada. I was really impressed with the talk, and how they solve real problems by using different artificial intelligent techniques, including Automated Planning and Scheduling.

Particularly, I enjoyed the explanation about how real problems need different planning approaches,  basically depending on the things that you want to plan. Basically, deliberative planning ( traditional HTN planners) is used for long-term planning where the problem to be solved is goal-driven, while reactive planning (also known as continual planning) is used for short-term planning, in dynamic enviroments where changes can occur and you need to react quickly to those changes. Of course, usually both are needed and should be intertwined. A great related quote, from D. Einsenhower, says “Plans are nothing; Planning is everything”. And that’s true, isn’t it?.

By hearing this discussion, I recalled the last post I wrote here about how could P&S could help in the field of BPM/ACM. The key  is of course to find a technology that you can apply to BPM, that could be supported by both approaches commented before. Not only you need to plan a process, that can be goal-driven, but usually the enviroment of that process changes, and you need to react somehow to those changes. These are some of the research themes that we pursue in our Research Group.

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