On the minimal revision problem of specification automata

Kangjin Kim, Georgios Fainekos, Sriram Sankaranarayanan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


As robots are being integrated into our daily lives, it becomes necessary to provide guarantees on their safe and provably correct operation. Such guarantees can be provided using automata theoretic task and mission planning where the requirements are expressed as temporal logic specifications. However, in real-life scenarios, it is to be expected that not all user task requirements can be realized by the robot. In such cases, the robot must provide feedback to the user on why it cannot accomplish a given task. Moreover, the robot should indicate what tasks it can accomplish which are as "close" as possible to the initial user intent. This paper establishes that the latter problem, which is referred to as the minimal specification revision problem, is NP-complete. A heuristic algorithm is presented that can compute good approximations to the Minimal Revision Problem (MRP) in polynomial time. The experimental study of the algorithm demonstrates that in most problem instances the heuristic algorithm actually returns the optimal solution. Finally, some cases where the algorithm does not return the optimal solution are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1515-1535
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Robotics Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - Oct 30 2015


  • Motion planning
  • hybrid control
  • specification revision
  • temporal logics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Applied Mathematics


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