The Frame Problem and Bayesian Network Action Representations

Craig Boutilier
Department of Computer Science
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC, CANADA, V6T 1Z4

Moises Goldszmidt
Rockwell Science Center
444 High Street
Palo Alto, CA 94301, U.S.A.

We examine a number of techniques for representing actions with stochastic effects using Bayesian networks and influence diagrams. We compare these techniques according to ease of specification and size of the representation required for the complete specification of the dynamics of a particular system, paying particular attention the role of persistence relationships. We precisely characterize two components of the frame problem for Bayes nets and stochastic actions, propose several ways to deal with these problems, and compare our solutions with Reiter's solution to the frame problem for the situation calculus. The result is a set of techniques that permit both ease of specification and compact representation of probabilistic system dynamics that is of comparable size (and timbre) to Reiter's representation (i.e., with no explicit frame axioms).

To appear, CSCSI-96, Toronto, May 1996

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