Foundations of Artificial Intelligence (FAI) Group
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Seminar: Explainable AI Planning


Basics. Seminar, 7 graded ECTS points.

The seminar will be run in a block format. There will be an initial meeting on Wednesday, October 16, 16:15--17:45. All student presentations will be given on a single day after the end of term. A detailed schedule is given below.

All meetings will take place in room 3.06, Building E1 1. The seminar language is English throughout.

Supervisors for the seminar are Prof. Jörg Hoffmann, and Daniel Höller.

Your task will be to read and understand a piece of research, to write a summary paper in your own words, to give a presentation, and to provide detailed feedback for the paper and presentation of a fellow student.

All email interaction must be pre-fixed with "[XAIP19-20]" in the email subject.

No plagiarism. It is Ok (and encouraged!) to use web resources to further your understanding of your assigned topic. However, it is inadmissible to use pieces of such material for your summary paper or presentation. Any plagiarism will result in disqualification from the seminar.


Content. Model-based approaches to AI are well suited to explainability in principle, given the explicit nature of their world knowledge and of the reasoning performed to take decisions. AI Planning in particular is relevant in this context as a generic approach to action-decision problems. Indeed, explainable AI Planning (XAIP) has received interest since more than a decade, and has been taking up speed recently along with the general trend to explainable AI. This seminar provides an overview of the area, covering its major work lines pertaining to contrastive explanation, model reconciliation, hierarchical planning with user interaction, and the explanation of unsolvability.


Prerequisites. Participants must have successfully completed an introductory course in Artificial Intelligence. They should be familiar with automatic planning at least to the extent of the material covered in the Artificial Intelligence course; successful participation in one of our AI Planning courses will be an advantage, but is not absolutely necessary to follow the seminar.


Registration. Is via the central seminar registration system.


Grading. The final grading will be based on:


Summary Paper. For the summary paper, you must use this tex template. Note in particular that you are required to read at least 2 related papers, for the related work section.The seminar paper should be about 4 pages long (not counting the literature list, and in the double-column format of the template). This is a rough guideline, not a strict rule. If you need, say, 5-6 pages to do your paper justice then definitely do so.


Schedule and Deadlines (tentative!).


Topics. Each participant will be assigned one topic, each of which consists of one paper. The overall amount and difficulty of the material associated with each topic is roughly balanced.

Area 1: Contrastive Explanation. Supervisor: Jörg Hoffmann

  1. A framework for contrastive explanation. Paper: Area 1 Topic 1
  2. Compilation-based question answering in contrastive explanation. Paper: Area 1 Topic 2
  3. Explaining the space of plans through plan-property dependencies. Paper: Area 1 Topic 3

Area 2: Model Reconciliation. Supervisor: Jörg Hoffmann

  1. XAIP as model reconciliation against a known user model. Paper: Area 2 Topic 1
  2. XAIP as model reconciliation against an unknown user model. Paper: Area 2 Topic 2

Area 3: Explaining Unsolvability. Supervisor: Jörg Hoffmann

  1. Excuses why no plan could be found. Paper: Area 3 Topic 1
  2. Hierarchical abstractions. Paper: Area 3 Topic 2

Area 4: Explainability in Hierarchical Planning. Supervisor: Daniel Höller

  1. Application of explanation and other techniques for user instructions in home-theater assembly. Paper: Area 4 Topic 1
  2. Plan-step explanation in hierarchical planning. Paper: Area 4 Topic 2
  3. User-friendly plan linearization. Paper: Area 4 Topic 3