We do not discuss the Ring and Cube Center domains for CAltAlt because it cannot solve even the smallest instances. Due to implementation details the planner performs very poorly when domains have actions with several conditional effects and hence does not scale. The trouble stems from a weak implementation for bringing general propositional formulas (obtained by regression with several conditional effects) into CNF.
We describe the results from left to right in Table 3, comparing the different planning graph structures and relaxed plans computed on each planning graph. We start with the non-planning graph heuristics and . As expected, , breadth-first search, does not perform well in a large portion of the problems, shown by the large number of search nodes and inability to scale to solve larger problems. We notice that with the heuristic performance is very good in the BT and BTC problems (this confirms the results originally seen by ). However, does not perform as well in the Rovers and Logistics problems because the size of a belief state, during planning, does not necessarily indicate that the belief state will be in a good plan. Part of the reason works so well in some domains is that it measures knowledge, and plans for these domains are largely based on increasing knowledge. The reason performs poorly on other domains is that finding causal support (which it does not measure) is more important than knowledge for these domains.
Next, for a single planning graph ( ), CAltAlt does reasonably well with the heuristic in the Rovers and Logistics domains, but fails to scale very well on the BT and BTC domains. Rovers and Logistics have comparatively fewer initial worlds than the BT and BTC problems. Moreover the deterministic plans, assuming each initial state is the real state, are somewhat similar for Rovers and Logistics, but mostly independent for BT and BTC. Therefore, approximating a fully observable plan with the single graph relaxed plan is reasonable when plans for achieving the goal from each world have high positive interaction. However, without high positive interaction the heuristic degrades quickly when the number of initial worlds increases.
With multiple planning graphs, CAltAlt is able to perform better in the Rovers domain, but takes quite a bit of time in the Logistics, BT, and BTC domains. In Rovers, capturing distance estimates for individual worlds and aggregating them by some means tends to be better than aggregating worlds and computing a single distance estimate (as in a single graph). In Logistics, part of the reason computing multiple graphs is so costly is that we are computing mutexes on each of the planning graphs. In BT and BTC, the total time increases quickly because the number of planning graphs, and number of relaxed plans for every search node increase so much as problems get larger.
Comparing the two multiple graph heuristics6 in CAltAlt namely and , we can see the effect of our choices for state distance aggregation. The relaxed plan heuristic aggregates state distances, as found on each planning graph, by taking the maximum distance. The unions the relaxed plans from each graph, and counts the number of actions in the unioned relaxed plan. As with the single graph relaxed plan, the relaxed plan essentially measures one state to state distance; thus, performance suffers on the BT and BTC domains. However, using the unioned relaxed plan heuristic, we capture the independence among the multiple worlds so that we scale up better in BT and BTC. Despite the usefulness of the unioned relaxed plan, it is costly to compute and scalability is limited, so we turn to the version of this same measure.
With the , we use the heuristic in CAltAlt. This heuristic uses a with full cross-world mutexes (denoted by ). As in the similar heuristic, measuring overlap is important, and improving the speed of computing the heuristic tends to improve the scalability of CAltAlt. While CAltAlt is slower in the Rovers and BTC domains when using the , we note that it is because of the added cost of computing cross-world mutexes - we are able to improve the speed by relaxing the mutexes, as we will describe shortly.