Tech Report CS-96-08

Planning and Acting in Partially Observable Stochastic Domains

Leslie Pack Kaelbling, Michael L. Littman and Anthony R. Cassandra

February 1996


In this paper, we bring techniques from operations research to bear on the problem of choosing optimal actions in partially observable stochastic domains. We begin by introducing the theory of Markov decision processes (MDPs) and partially observable MDPs (POMDPs). We then outline a novel algorithm for solving POMDPs off line and show how, in some cases, a finite-memory controller can be extracted from the solution to a POMDP. We conclude with a discussion of the complexity of finding exact solutions to POMDPs and of some possibilities for finding approximate solutions.

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