Symbolic Dynamic Programming for First-Order MDPs

Craig Boutilier, Ray Reiter, Bob Price
Department of Computer Science
University of Toronto
Toronto, ON M5S 3H5
email: cebly,reiter,

We present a dynamic programming approach for the solution of first-order Markov decisions processes. This technique uses an MDP whose dynamics is represented in a variant of the situation calculus allowing for stochastic actions. It produces a logical description of the optimal value function and policy by constructing a set of first-order formulae that minimally partition state space according to distinctions made by the value function and policy. This is achieved through the use of an operation known as decision-theoretic regression. In effect, our algorithm performs value iteration without explicit enumeration of either the state or action spaces of the MDP. This allows problems involving relational fluents and quantification to be solved without requiring explicit state space enumeration or conversion to propositional form.

To appear, IJCAI-01

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