Planning as constraint satisfaction: Solving the planning graph by compiling it into CSP

Minh Binh Do, Subbarao Kambhampati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


The idea of synthesizing bounded length plans by compiling planning problems into a combinatorial substrate, and solving the resulting encodings has become quite popular in recent years. Most work to-date has however concentrated on compilation to satisfiability (SAT) theories and integer linear programming (ILP). In this paper we will show that CSP is a better substrate for the compilation approach, compared to both SAT and ILP. We describe GP-CSP, a system that does planning by automatically converting Graphplan's planning graph into a CSP encoding and solving it using standard CSP solvers. Our comprehensive empirical evaluation of GP-CSP demonstrates that it is superior to both the Blackbox system, which compiles planning graphs into SAT encodings, and an ILP-based planner in a wide range of planning domains. Our results show that CSP encodings outperform SAT encodings in terms of both space and time requirements in various problems. The space reduction is particularly important as it makes GP-CSP less susceptible to the memory blow-up associated with SAT compilation methods. The paper also discusses various techniques in setting up the CSP encodings, planning specific improvements to CSP solvers, and strategies for variable and value selection heuristics for solving the CSP encodings of different types of planning problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-182
Number of pages32
JournalArtificial Intelligence
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 2001


  • CSP compilation
  • Constraint satisfaction
  • EBL
  • Encodings
  • Graphplan
  • Planning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Artificial Intelligence


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