A modular language for describing actions

dc.contributor.advisorLifschitz, Vladimiren
dc.contributor.committeeMemberBoyer, Roberten
dc.contributor.committeeMemberGelfond, Michaelen
dc.contributor.committeeMemberNovak, Gordonen
dc.contributor.committeeMemberPorter, Bruceen
dc.creatorRen, Wanwanen
dc.date.accessioned2010-08-26T19:18:49Zen
dc.date.available2010-08-26T19:18:49Zen
dc.date.available2010-08-26T19:18:54Zen
dc.date.issued2009-12en
dc.date.submittedDecember 2009en
dc.date.updated2010-08-26T19:18:54Zen
dc.descriptiontexten
dc.description.abstractThis dissertation is about the design of a modular language for describing actions. The modular action description language, MAD, is based on the action language C+. In this new language, the possibility of "importing" a module allows us to describe actions by referring to descriptions of related actions introduced earlier, rather than by listing all effects and preconditions of every action explicitly. The use of modular action descriptions eliminates the need to reinvent theories of similar domains over and over again. Another advantage of this representation style is that it is similar to the way humans describe actions in terms of other actions. We first define the syntax of a fragment of MAD, called mini-MAD, and then extend it to the full version of MAD. The semantics of mini-MAD is defined by grounding action descriptions and translating them into C+. However, for the full version of MAD, it would be difficult to define grounding. Instead, we use a new approach to the semantics of variables in action descriptions, which is based on more complex logical machinery---first-order causal logic. Grounding is important as an implementation method, but we argue that it should be best avoided in the definition of the semantics of expressive action languages. We show that, in application to mini-MAD, the two semantics are equivalent. Furthermore, we prove that MAD action descriptions have some desirable, intuitively expected mathematical properties. We hope that MAD will make it possible to create a useful general-purpose library of standard action descriptions and will contribute in this way to solving the problem of generality in Artificial Intelligence.en
dc.description.departmentComputer Sciences
dc.format.mimetypeapplication/pdfen
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/2152/ETD-UT-2009-12-473en
dc.language.isoengen
dc.subjectArtificial intelligenceen
dc.subjectKnowledge representationen
dc.subjectReasoning about actionsen
dc.subjectAction languagesen
dc.subjectModularityen
dc.subjectCausal logicen
dc.titleA modular language for describing actionsen
dc.type.genrethesisen
thesis.degree.departmentComputer Sciencesen
thesis.degree.disciplineComputer Sciencesen
thesis.degree.grantorThe University of Texas at Austinen
thesis.degree.levelDoctoralen
thesis.degree.nameDoctor of Philosophyen
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