Focusing Attention in Anytime Decision­Theoretic Planning

Peter Haddawy Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science University of Wisconsin­Milwaukee PO Box 784 Milwaukee, WI 53201


Any anytime algorithm used for decision­making should have the property that it considers the most important aspects of the decision problem first. In this way, the algorithm can first eliminate disastrous decisions and recognize particularly ad­ vantageous decisions, considering finer details if time permits. We view planning as a decision­making process and discuss the design of anytime algorithms for decision­ theoretic planning. In particular, we present an anytime decision­theoretic planning algorithm that uses abstraction to focus attention first on those aspects of a planning problem that have the highest impact on expected utility. We discuss control schemes for refining this behavior and methods for automatically creating good abstractions.