Why the Monkey Needs the Box: A Serious Look at a Toy Domain

Vladimir Lifschitz

University of Texas

ABSTRACT: "Toy worlds" involving actions, such as the Blocks World and the Monkey and Bananas domain, are often used by researchers in the areas of commonsense reasoning and planning to illustrate and test their ideas. Many of the axioms found in descriptions of these toy worlds are expressions of general-purpose knowledge, though they are often cast in a form only useful for solving one specific problem and are not faithful representations of general facts that can be used in other domains. Instead of using such domain-specific axioms for each problem, we are building a general-purpose library of action descriptions which can be referred to in descriptions of many action domains. The library is being written in the modular action description language MAD, which is an extension of the action language C+. This talk is about the language MAD, about some of our library modules, and about a new formalization of the Monkey and Bananas domain that uses the library. Most of the axioms in this formalization come from the library, with only a few domain-specific axioms needed. This is joint work with Selim Erdogan, Paolo Ferraris and Wanwan Ren.

Vladimir Lifschitz is Gottesman Family Centennial Professor in Computer
Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin.  His research interests
are in the areas of knowledge representation and computational logic.  He
is a Fellow of the American Association for Artifical Intelligence, a
co-editor of the Handbook of Knowledge Representation, the Editor-in-Chief
of the ACM Transactions on Computational Logic, and an Editorial Advisor
of the journal Theory and Practice of Logic Programming.

Deepak Ramachandran
Last modified: Fri Aug 8 11:38:17 CST 2006