Planning for temporally extended goals
In planning, goals have traditionally been viewed as specifying a set of desirable final states. Any plan that transforms the current state to one of these desirable states is viewed to be correct. Goals of this form are limited in what they can specify, and they also do not allow us to constrain the manner in which the plan achieves its objectives. We propose viewing goals as specifying desirable sequences of states, and a plan to be correct if its execution yields one of these desirable sequences. We present a logical language, a temporal logic, for specifying goals with this semantics. Our language is rich and allows the representation of a range of temporally extended goals, including classical goals, goals with temporal deadlines, quantified goals (with both universal and existential quantification), safety goals, and maintenance goals. Our formalism is simple and yet extends previous approaches in this area. We also present a planning algorithm that can generate correct plans for these goals. This algorithm has been implemented, and we provide some examples of the formalism at work. The end result is a planning system which can generate plans that satisfy a novel and useful set of conditions.