A Theory of Goal-Oriented MDPs with Dead Ends
Andrey Kolobov, Mausam, Daniel Weld
Stochastic Shortest Path (SSP) MDPs is a problem class widely studied in AI, especially in probabilistic planning. They describe a wide range of scenarios but make the restrictive assumption that the goal is reachable from any state, i.e., that dead-end states do not exist. Because of this, SSPs are unable to model various scenarios that may have catastrophic events (e.g., an airplane possibly crashing if it flies into a storm). Even though MDP algorithms have been used for solving problems with dead ends, a principled theory of SSP extensions that would allow dead ends, including theoretically sound algorithms for solving such MDPs, has been lacking. In this paper, we propose three new MDP classes that admit dead ends under increasingly weaker assumptions. We present Value Iteration-based as well as the more efficient heuristic search algorithms for optimally solving each class, and explore theoretical relationships between these classes. We also conduct a preliminary empirical study comparing the performance of our algorithms on different MDP classes, especially on scenarios with unavoidable dead ends.
PDF Link: /papers/12/p438-kolobov.pdf
AUTHOR = "Andrey Kolobov
and Mausam and Daniel Weld",
TITLE = "A Theory of Goal-Oriented MDPs with Dead Ends",
BOOKTITLE = "Proceedings of the Twenty-Eighth Conference Annual Conference on Uncertainty in Artificial Intelligence (UAI-12)",
PUBLISHER = "AUAI Press",
ADDRESS = "Corvallis, Oregon",
YEAR = "2012",
PAGES = "438--447"