INCREMENTAL LEARNING OF PROCEDURAL PLANNING KNOWLEDGE IN CHALLENGING ENVIRONMENTS
Autonomous agents that learn about their environment can be divided into two broad classes. One class of existing learners, reinforcement learners, typically employ weak learning methods to directly modify an agent's execution knowledge. These systems are robust in dynamic and complex environments but generally do not support planning or the pursuit of multiple goals. In contrast, symbolic theory revision systems learn declarative planning knowledge that allows them to pursue multiple goals in
... arge state spaces, but these approaches are generally only applicable to fully sensed, deterministic environments with no exogenous events. This research investigates the hypothesis that by limiting an agent to procedural access to symbolic planning knowledge, the agent can combine the powerful, knowledge-intensive learning performance of the theory revision systems with the robust performance in complex environments of the reinforcement learners. The system, IMPROV, uses an expressive knowledge representation so that it can learn complex actions that produce conditional or sequential effects over time. By developing learning methods that only require limited procedural access to the agent's knowledge, IMPROV's learning remains tractable as the agent's knowledge is scaled to large problems. IMPROV learns to correct operator precondition and effect knowledge in complex environments that include such properties as noise, multiple agents and time-critical tasks, and demonstrates a general learning method that can be easily strengthened through the addition of many different kinds of knowledge.