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Professional Terms Dictionary

We will update this dictionary with professional terms in the fields of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Automated Planning in AI, Oversubscription Planning and more. Please feel free to suggest and ask for terms definition and clarification. Just leave a comment and your request will be clarified and added to the dictionary. (Few examples added to demonstrate how I suggest it to work, feel free to suggest different methods)

General AI TermsPlanning AI TermsOversubscription Planning Terms
Big Data
State Variable
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that is a medal not a currency

How Can We Know if Our Coin is a Currency?

How Can We Know if Our Coin is a Currency?

Well, we can bite the coin and try to taste currency. But what is the taste of currency?
For me, it tastes like bread and a far flavor of a loan. It is here and now, but also there, in the future… weird?

Here is my minimum criterion for a coin to be currency, two guiding questions to decide:

  • Can my coin buy me bread?
  • Can I make a loan of my coin?

If both are true, maybe I have currency. Otherwise, perhaps I have a medal.
I don’t say if it is good or bad, matching expectations is all that is it about.

Would love to hear your thoughts on that.

Vladimir Vysotsky - song about a friend , trust and mountain climbing

A Good Advice From the Past on Trust by Vladimir Vysotsky – Prove Yourself Being Wrong Before Being Right

In my previous blog post, I was writing about the illusion of being right. Here I want to share a piece of advice from my past on how to prove yourself wrong. This advice is suggested by my parents, Lev and Svetlana, which exposed my brother Alex and me in our childhood to the songs of Vladimir Vysotsky. One of those songs was the “Song About a Friend.” This song is talking about the awareness of not knowing, and the importance of taking a risk to prove yourself wrong before making a decision with impact on your fellow. This song starts with doubt and question; “If a friend suddenly turns out to be Not quite a friend, not quite an enemy, but just… “. The rest of the song is a perspective, one advice, Vladimir Vygotsky’s suggestion on how to avoid a rush judgment of somebody else actions. Being aware that we can’t know all the reasons that make a fellow to do bad or illogical actions, Emotional Intelligence if you like.

“If a friend suddenly turns out to be Not quite a friend, not quite an enemy, but just…”, maybe you should take a risk and give a chance to your fellow to show that he is worth your trust and maybe even needs your help. From my perspective, the right thing will be before taking a decision, before being right and brake a trust, sometimes we should take a risk and give a chance to change, a chance to prove that we are wrong. Vladimir Vysotsky suggests to give a chance, take him to climb a mountain, share with him the same perspective and the same rope when climbing. If you fail to prove yourself wrong, and so is the friend fails to prove his values and him being worth the trust, if you left with no choice rather being right, “Do not bother to yell– expel.”

Trust is not about mountain climbing, trust is about values, the values that last, not the financial kind of values, but ethics and principles between a man and his fellow, that kind of values.

Песня о друге (Pesnya o druge) – A song about a friend
© Copyright Vladimir Vysotsky
© Copyright English translation by Andrey Kneller

Если друг оказался вдруг
И не друг, и не враг, а – так,
Если сразу не разберешь,
Плох он или хорош,-
Парня в горы тяни – рискни!
Не бросай одного его,
Пусть он в связке в одной с тобой –
Там поймешь, кто такой.
If your friend just became a man,
Not a friend, not a foe,– just so,
If you really can’t tell from the start,
If he’s strong in his heart, —
To the peaks take this man — don’t fret!
Do not leave him alone, on his own,
Let him share the same view with you–
Then you’ll know if he’s true.
mountain climbing together

mountain climbing together

Если парень в горах – не ах,
Если сразу раскис и – вниз,
Шаг ступил на ледник и – сник,
Оступился – и в крик,-
Значит, рядом с тобой – чужой,
Ты его не брани – гони:
Вверх таких не берут, и тут
Про таких не поют.
If the guy on the peak got weak,
If he lost all his care — got scared,
Took a step on the frost — got lost,
Tripped and screamed in exhaust, —
Then the one you held close is false,
Do not bother to yell– expel, —
We can’t take such aboard, and in short
We don’t sing of his sort.
Mans best friend

Mans best friend

Если ж он не скулил, не ныл,
Пусть он хмур был и зол, но – шел,
А когда ты упал со скал,
Он стонал, но – держал,
Если шел за тобой, как в бой,
На вершине стоял хмельной,-
Значит, как на себя самого,
Положись на него.
If the guy didn’t whine nor pine,
He was dull and upset, but went,
When you slipped from the cliff,
He heaved, holding you in his grip;
If he walked right along, seemed strong,
On the top stood like he belonged, —
Then, whenever the chances are slim
You can count on him!
friendship values and trust

friendship values and trust

About Vladimir Vysotsky (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Vladimir Semyonovich Vysotsky (Russian: Влади́мир Семёнович Высо́цкий; 25 January 1938 – 25 July 1980) was a Russian Jewish singer-songwriter, poet, and actor whose career had an immense and enduring effect on Soviet and Russian culture. He became widely known for his unique singing style and for his lyrics, which featured social and political commentary in often humorous street jargon. He was also a prominent stage and screen actor. Though his work was largely ignored by the official Soviet cultural establishment, he achieved remarkable fame during his lifetime, and to this day exerts significant influence on many of Russia’s popular musicians and actors who wish to emulate his iconic status.

Back Then, My Mama, Papa, and Bratan
Mullers, 1988, Saint Petersburg (Former Leningrad)

Mullers, 1988, Saint Petersburg (Former Leningrad)

I am almost sure that our parents played this song for us at the day we took this picture of ours, and if not this one then many other songs of Vladimir Vysotsky, encoding in our minds first the values of the kind that last. And I am sure that my brother at about 9 or 10 years old insisted on playing it again and again and explaining to me the meaning of each sentence. Thank you, Mama, Papa, and Bratan!

The illusion of being right and the paradox of being right and making the right thing happen

The Illusion of Being Right and The Paradox of Being Right and Making The Right Things Happen

Sometimes there is no credit for being right.
In many cases, there is a big difference between being right and making the right things happen.

If you see a disaster and you are right about this disaster going to happen, there are few decisions you can take:
1. If you want to be right, if you want the credit (sometimes without even notice) you will be right if you will show that it happened “hey here I told here is the disaster as I told you, it happened, I am right “ – so you were right and here is your credit, but what is the point of this credit?
2. If you want to make the right thing happen, you must to put yourself aside, eliminate the human weakness of wanting to be right, look at the big picture, with you small inside it (not too small, but as little as you really are) be aware of the thinking error in being right and making right things happen. If you do all this, you must know that by making the right things happen you prevent from a disaster to happen, and by doing this you lose the only proof of you being right. And sometimes even you can not be sure that you were right, but if you are focused on the right things to happen, who cares? If the new ways are better(maybe not perfect, or not perfect yet), then screw the old path and the credit.

Now here are the values meeting the power of perspective thinking… choose, do you want to be right and take the credit or do you want to do the right thing happen, maybe in the price of losing all your credit?

Between man and his fellow, for example; If you recognize somebody doing something wrong, you think that he is getting crazy, by proving that you make him crazy, by striving to show that you are wrong you can save him from being crazy and smile while tasting the fruits of the unthankful dirty business of making right things happen… So you have no credit, but maybe you have an uncrazy friend? If you choose the global perspective again, you got yourself a much better situation.

In education, where we deal with the prediction and creation of the future, this paradox should be termed as the “The Paradox of the Coach” or “The Paradox of the educator”. Let us talk about mathematics skill. Think for example about a teacher and his student. As a teacher, you teach skills and then test the skills of your students, you classify them, and as a side effect, you prove them being good or bad in math (on the scale of 100 points). Now Suppose you have a student classified as good as 70 points in math. Now you know that this student is not so good at math, and probably you are right (at the moment). Now you can choose, do you want to prove bad math skills of your student? Or do you want to prove that maybe you are wrong?

It is your choice to end the process with a grade and classification or maybe take some action looking at his future? loosing your “being right credit” just to prove that you are wrong, maybe…

Yom Kippur, by the Jewish tradition, it is a day of introspection, an opportunity to be wrong. I wish you a meaningful Yom Kippur, and I wish you being mostly wrong, and take the credit for being right just if there is no other choice!

We have a habit of asking forgiveness in Yom Kippur, if you did the right things along the way, and you were stronger then just being right with credit, you will not get any calls this day of people being sorry… but smile, you probably were right and Proved to be wrong because you did the right things. And when should you ask forgiveness? The paradox of makings right things will point to ask forgiveness from those that you actually helped them…crazy shit it is, but that is all the point of being a good person — no credit but within a much better environment.

please, share your thoughts and examples on that matter and have a meaningful Yom Kippur!

What is it Value Landmarks? Why shall we use them?

Actually, I didn’t find a reason yet why shouldn’t we use them. Computationally cheap, can improve but do not do damage; In the worst case scenario using them will achieve the same results as not using. It just an extra, very relevant information that you can use or not. Make your choice… 🙂
But if you find a reason why not to use them, please let me know, contact me or leave a comment. Thanks!

Here are two examples where value-driven landmarks can lead us to better decisions in a complex (everyday life), oversubscription planning problems with sequential actions.

Bill achieved his goals! Well, it is a matter of perspective… Value Driven Landmarks for Oversubscription Planning show us a wider picture. Process-Oriented flexible planning for online, landmark-based sequential acting planning and decision making with negative utility interactions between variables (which widely appear also in the non-negative scenarios). Synergistic Criteria for a process of improvement defines a window of opportunity to terminate the process with a profit. Sometimes we better do nothing.

The context of negative effects and interactions with targets can be captured with the net utility of actions definition within Value Driven Landmarks for Oversubscription Planning. A sequence of actions that improve utility terminates with a positive net utility value action. The net and gross utility value of action definitions take into account a wider context of achievements, by capturing inter-state dependencies and intra-state dependencies.

For more details on how we find these Value Landmarks check out the introduction to oversubscription planning and our publications.

Oversubscription Planning (OSP) value landmarks

Technical Report for the Paper on Value Driven Landmarks for Oversubscription Planning

A detailed technical report of out ICAPS 2018 paper Value Driven Landmark for Oversubscription Planning is available. In the technical report, we provide detail examples of the theory in the paper. We look closely at the terms of optimality and achievements concerning the complexity of the real-world scenarios. ICAPS 2018 Slides of our presentation along with supplementary material can be found at the publication page.
Starting with the most fundamental question of what additive utility function in OSP problem is, we point out the challenges in multi-valued planning tasks with additive utility setting. We discuss the relationships between state variables and different value assignments to a variable in successive states along a plan. We closely consider negative interactions between state variables with multi-valued (non-zero binary) utility setting, and we show how these negative interactions could occur in tasks with non-negative utility setting.
We treat the OSP task as a process of improvement of the initial state rather than a process of collecting valuable facts is the most basic fundamental of our approach. In contrast to classical planning and partial satisfaction problems where there is one explicit assignment for each variable that is defined as valuable, OSP with additive utility functions allows for each variable to be associated with a set of different utilities. Thus, in the additive utility case, a variable assignment is valuable if its utility is better than the utility at the initial state, where an optimal solution will be the maxima(red circle) l utility over all variables that are {\em mutually consistent}. Therefore, it is easy to see that the concept of {\em improving states} rather than collecting valuable facts is much more suitable for the general case.
In order to capture the properties of the process, we define the net and gross term for the utility of actions which allow us to evaluate achievements with relative terms within the ongoing process of utility maximization. Each process that improves utility must agree with a few several structural properties of optimal. We can define these properties over process due to the definition of the net and gross actions. Finally, we represent these properties with Value-Driven Landmarks, These Value Landmarks are domain-independent (can be applied in each task if sequential decisions or actions), and lead to better performance, sometimes, as you can see in the attached image, without a search at all.
The red circle emphasizes the tasks that solved without search since no plan that meets optimal properties as applicable. In real-world scenarios that involve budget thus is very likely to happen at some point during the search.
Oversubscription action planning with value landmarks - Empirical evaluation of the improving approach

Oversubscription action planning with value landmarks – Empirical evaluation of the improving approach

Stay tuned, we will keep update here the progress of our research and if you find that problem interesting, let us know, there is a lot of work and we will be more than happy to collaborate.

We will soon post a call for collaboration with some of our suggestions.


Goal-Oriented Bill Could Do it Better…


Here is a new animation explainer I am working on. It comes to clear another point from our research on Oversubscription planning and the merits of value landmarks in a complex (day life) problems with sequential actions.


There are some tuning left; I would love to have your comments.

Oversubscription Planning (OSP)

Introduction to our research on oversubscription planning – OSP


Oversubscription planning termed by D. Smith (2004), also referred to as OSP, deals with achieving a state with a high utility value, given a budget on total action cost. This formulation allows us to handle situations with under-constrained resources, which do not allow us to achieve all possible goal facts. OSP objective differs from classical planning objective, in which the objective is to find a cheap plan which achieves all goal facts. In optimal OSP and optimal classical planning, the tasks are further constrained to finding a path which achieves a state with maximal utility, and, to finding the cheapest cost path which achieves the goal, respectively.

Over the years, the theory and practice of classical planning have been studied and advanced much more intensively compared to OSP. Recent work (Mirkis & Domshlak 2013,2014; Domshlak & Mirkis 2015) made several contributions aiming at improving the scalability of OSP solvers. In particular, they developed a planner which exploits standard landmark discovery tools of classical planning, as well as abstractions for solving OSP problems. They showed how standard goal-reachability landmarks of certain classical planning tasks could be generated to represent achievements of valuable facts of the original OSP task. These landmarks compiled into the original OSP task to obtain an equivalent OSP task with a lower cost allowance, and thus with a smaller effective search space. In this research, we investigate approximation methods for OSP, aiming at extending the scope of the landmark-based approximations for OSP, as well as on improving the scalability of the state-space search driven by these approximations. We propose techniques which allow us to discover more informative landmarks than previous methods. Furthermore, our techniques are applicable for OSP tasks generalized to additive utility setting.

Starting with the most basic question of what additive utility function in OSP problem is, we point out the challenges in multi-valued planning tasks with additive utility setting. We discuss the relationships between state variables and different value assignments to a variable in successive states along a plan. We closely consider negative interactions between state variables with multi-valued (non-zero binary) utility setting, and we show how these negative interactions could occur in tasks with non-negative utility setting. We introduce a novel heuristic search approach to address additive utility OSP tasks which differs from the traditional automated action planning approach in the sense of interpretation of the objective of planning for valuable facts. With our focus on improving state-variables rather than on collecting valuable facts, we define the utility of actions. Investigation of planning tasks and their utility structure with the utility of action definition in hand allowed us to discover properties of optimal plans on the level of actions and sequences of actions. A synergistic combination of these properties allows handling OSP additive utility functions over multi-valued variables.

Continue reading →

Check out our paper in ICAPS 2018

Our paper on Value Driven Landmarks for Oversubscription Planning [1] is presented in the International Conference on Automated Planning and Scheduling  – ICAPS 2018

Oversubscription planning is the problem of choosing an action sequence which reaches a state with a high utility, given a budget for total action cost. Most previous work on oversubscription planning was restricted to only non-negative utility functions and 0-binary utility functions. While this restriction allows using techniques similar to partial satisfaction planning, it limits the expressivity of the formalism. In this paper, we address oversubscription planning with general additive utility functions over a finite-domain representation. We introduce the notions of net utility of an action, and of a gross positive action. Using these notions, we prove several properties about the structure of an optimal plan, which are then compiled into a classical planning problem. The landmarks of this classical planning problem are value driven landmarks of the original oversubscription problem, that is, they must occur in any action sequence which improves utility. An empirical evaluation demonstrates that these landmarks are more informative than previous state-of-the-art methods for landmark discovery for oversubscription planning, and lead to better planning performance.

[1] D. Muller and E. Karpas, “Value driven landmarks for oversubscription planning.,” in Icaps, 2018.
title = {Value Driven Landmarks for Oversubscription Planning.},
author={Muller, Daniel and Karpas, Erez},
year = {2018}