A Software Framework for Applying Planning Techniques

Enterprise applications are built along software architectures that allow componentization of building blocks, large-scale reuse through design patterns and frameworks, and easy upgradation/ maintenance. As more and more applications of planning are emerging in diverse areas that employ many of the planning-related techniques like reachability and relevance analysis, causal reasoning for plan existence, plan synthesis, temporal reasoning and what-if analysis for bounds on optimal plans, the focus is changing from only planner performance to the overall software process of implementing these techniques. Over time, the implementation of the needed planning techniques has to be maintained and upgraded to better alternatives, just like any other software component.

However, the process of implementing planners (and related techniques) is still to start from scratch as there is no common reuse framework. This not only slows the speed of implementation but also inhibits adoption of better techniques in future.

In this paper, we present a Java-based programmatic framework called {\em Planner4J} to build and reuse planning components in business applications. Experience with Planner4J has shown that it is effective for building and maintaining a variety of planners and techniques in Java, which are being used in different applications requiring planning capabilities.

By: Biplav Srivastava

Published in: RI04001 in 2004


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