Planning For Real Time Event Response Management
by David Ash
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Excerpt From Planning For Real Time Event Response Management

The first question to be answered is "why plan?" The need for planning was recognized thousands of years ago. Sun Tzu, in his classic book The Art of War, written 2500 years ago, said: "The general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his temple before the battle is fought." Some of the early successes in artificial intelligence were attained without the need for planning. For example, chess-playing programs and expert systems (Shortliffe, 1976 among many others) do not require any type of planning. The answer, we feel, is that any intelligent agent capable of carrying out a sequence of actions is going to need to be able to plan. Chess-playing programs, while they may look several moves ahead as part of a heuristic search algorithm, do not actually plan more than one move ahead at a time. A simple expert system, after making all inferences possible based on available data, generally makes a single recommendation or diagnosis, and leaves the planning of a complex response up to the human agent who receives the recommendation.

We believe that such systems are quite limited in that they require human intervention after each step. When an agent has a more sophisticated ability to plan, it is capable of interacting with a human at any time the human would so desire, but it is no longer limited by the requirement for such interaction. For example, an expert system with the ability to plan would be able to recommend a plan of action based upon available data. That plan could include gathering new data at appropriate intervals, making further inferences, and doing further planning, based upon such new data.


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