Actions as Special Cases

This paper is motivated by the idea of interaction between two directions of research in knowledge representation: the design of action description languages and the development of libraries of reusable, general-purpose knowledge components. Writing an action description that characterizes actions in terms of their effects, as common today, can be compared to writing a program that does not use standard subroutines. We conjecture that a library of standard descriptions for a number of “basic” actions can facilitate writing, understanding and modifying action descriptions. In this paper, we take some steps towards determining how such a library, written in the action language C+, can be used. When using an instance of a library action description, we relate the library constants to the domain-specific constants by providing definitions. Therefore, a theory of explicit definitions in C+ is developed. To illustrate the use of the library, we show how the action PushBox in the Monkey and Bananas domain can be described as a special case of the “library action” Move.
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