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Video-games and more in the upcoming “Planning in Games ICAPS-2013 Workshop” (PG-2013)

Interested in applications of AI planning techniques to video-games and more? Take a look at the upcoming Planning in Games Workshop at ICAPS-2013 to take place in Rome!

The workshop aims at gathering researchers and practitioners interested in the use of planning in games to discuss current work and future directions: from classic games to video games, from academia to the industry, from researchers to developers and designers to gamers, from path planning to strategic planning, and more.


Call for papers

Topics and Objectives

The Planning in Games Workshop covers a wide range of topics related to developing, integrating, and benchmarking single agent, adversarial, and multi-agent planning techniques into classic games as well as video games. While the emphasis of the workshop is on the methods and techniques developed in the field of AI, the workshop aims at bringing together researchers and practitioners involved in applications of planning in the field of video games, to discuss current work and future directions. We especially welcome discussions and demonstrations of existing systems.

Artificial Intelligence Planning is successfully used in video-games: heuristic-based STRIPS-like planning and HTN Planning generate character behavior in several fast paced games since 2005, reaching millions of players. This certainly does not make planning in games a solved problem: from new game genres to next-generation consoles and new markets such as cloud gaming, the AI Planning research frontier is wide and open to any kind of planning technique in a gaming context.

This 3rd edition of the ICAPS Workshop on Planning in Games shall acknowledge the tighter link with the video-game industry, while aiming at inspiring traditional Game AI Planning research such as optimal planning in huge search spaces and temporal reasoning, and traditional games such as go and chess: this workshop invites submissions on any aspect of AI planning in the largest possible domain of games.

Relevant topics include:

  • Strategic and tactical planning
  • Planning techniques for abstract games such as board games,
  • Planning for command hierarchies
  • Temporal and spatial planning
  • Real-time planning and replanning
  • Drama and story planning
  • Checking and debugging game design with planning
  • Cloud-based planning services
  • Plan recognition, cased-based and crowd-sourcing planning
  • Abstractions and representational issues
  • Competitions

Like previous Planning in Games workshops, we hope PG-2013 to be a highly participatory and discussion-oriented forum. We anticipate a one-day workshop that will comprise of several sessions including presentations of research papers, position papers, and posters, and a panel discussion.

Invited Talks

  • Dana S. Nau (University of Maryland)
  • Alex Champandard (AIGameDev.com)
  • William van der Sterren (CGF-AI)


Potential participants are invited to submit either a full
length technical paper or a statement of interest with a position
paper. Submissions are accepted in PDF format only, using the AAAI
formatting guidelines at:

Submissions must be no longer than seven (7) pages in length,
including references and figures. Author names should be included.
Overlength papers will not be accepted for publication. Papers must
be submitted electronically in PDF format by the due date.

Submission website:

Electronic proceedings will be offered to delegates in a USB key
by ICAPS-2013, and will also be published online in the ICAPS-2013


Submission deadline: March 23, 2013
Notification: April 20, 2013
Final version: May 10, 2013
Workshop date: June 11, 2013 (TBC)

Workshop Program Chairs

Program Committee

  • Marc Cavazza, University of Teesside, United Kingdom
  • Carle Cote, Eidos, Canada
  • Luke Dicken, University of Strathclyde, United Kingdom
  • Alan Fern, Oregon State University, United States
  • Peter Gregory, University of Teesside, United Kingdom
  • Carlos Linares López, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain
  • Christian Muise, University of Toronto, Canada
  • Héctor Muñoz Ávila, Lehigh University, USA
  • Jeff Orkin, MIT Media Lab, United States
  • Julie Porteous, University of Teesside, United Kingdom
  • Mark Riedl, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA
  • William van der Sterren, CGF-AI, Neatherlands

Report on the 8th International Workshop on Cognitive Robotics (CogRob-2012)

The 8th International Workshop on Cognitive Robotics was held at Toronto, Ontario, Canada at the Sheraton Centre Toronto, on July 22–23, 2012. Cognitive robotics is concerned with integrating reasoning, perception and action with a uniform theoretical and implementation robotics framework. The goal of this workshop was to bring together researchers involved in all aspects of the theory and implementation of cognitive robots to discuss current work and future directions.

Wolfram Burgard (Institute for Informatik, Albert-Ludwigs-Universitat Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany), Kurt Konolige (Industrial Perception, Inc., Palo Alto, USA), Maurice Pagnucco (University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia), and Stavros Vassos (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece) served as co-chairs for this workshop. The papers of the workshop were published as AAAI Press Technical Report WS-12-06.

The use of both software robots (softbots) and robotic artifacts in everyday life is on the upswing and we are seeing increasingly more examples of their use in society with commercial products around the corner and some already on the market. As interaction with humans increases, so does the demand for sophisticated robotic capabilities associated with deliberation and high-level cognitive functions. Combining results from the traditional robotics discipline with those from AI and cognitive science has and will continue to be central to research in cognitive robotics. As improvements in technology lead to more sophisticated sensors, actuators, etc. together with a decrease in size, power consumption and cost, the need for higher-level cognitive functions on these more sophisticated robots is becoming more and more pressing.

Research in robotics has traditionally emphasized low-level sensing and control tasks including sensory processing, path planning, and manipulator design and control. In contrast, research in cognitive robotics is concerned with endowing robots and software agents with higher level cognitive functions that enable them to reason, act and perceive in changing, incompletely known, and unpredictable environments. Such robots must, for example, be able to reason about goals, actions, when to perceive and what to look for, the cognitive states of other agents, time, collaborative task execution, and so on. In short, cognitive robotics is concerned with integrating reasoning, perception and action within a uniform theoretical and implementation framework.

This two-day workshop brought together researchers from a variety of subfields of AI in addition to researchers in the field of cognitive science. The 15 papers that were presented in the workshop focused on a broad range of topics from theoretical approaches and methodologies for various aspects of cognitive robotics to practical and challenging applications of cognitive robots in the real world.

Some of the topics discussed by the presenters include practical languages for reasoning about action and change, agent programming languages for high-level behavior, plan recognition, modelling visuospatial abilities, as well as the framework of conceptual spaces, the Soar cognitive architecture, and emotional intelligence. As far as practical applications of cognitive robotics is concerned, the discussions included an application in personalized guided tour using cognitive robots (“Personalized Guided Tour by Multiple Robots through Semantic Profile Definition and Dynamic Redistribution of Participants” by Anna Hristoskova, Carlos Aguero, Manuela Veloso and Filip De Turck), a framework for modelling the skills of manufacturing robots (“A Taxonomic Framework for Task Modeling and Knowledge Transfer in Manufacturing Robotics” by Jacob Huckaby and Henrik I. Christensen), as well as a prototype robotic bartender (“What Would You Like to Drink? Recognising and Planning with Social States in a Robot Bartender Domain” by Ron Petrick and Mary Ellen Foster).

In addition to the contributed presentations, the workshop included two invited talks from renowned members of the AI community that took place at the beginning of each day of the workshop. Michael Thielscher (University of New South Wales, Australia) talked about the research topic of General Game Playing in the context of cognitive robotics, and Peter Stone (University of Texas, USA) focused on the RoboCup competition discussing its evolution in the recent years and the major challenges that have been identified.

The discussions that were initiated by the invited talks and the paper presentations also continued in a panel session that took place near the end of the second day of the workshop. The panel included four panelists, Giuseppe De Giacomo (Sapienza University of Rome, Italy), Unmesh Kurup (Carnegie Mellon University, USA), Gerhard Lakemeyer (Aachen University of Technology, Germany), and Peter Stone (University of Texas, USA), and the topic of the discussion was “Practical challenges for Cognitive Robotics”.

Three major themes emerged from a lively discussion among the panelists and the participants of the workshop identifying the following as major challenges: i) the ability to form ad-hoc teams of cognitive robots for collaboratively addressing a given situation, ii) the use of software worlds, such as video-games, not only as a testbed for experimenting and evaluating approaches for cognitive robotics, but also as a self-standing application domain that becomes ubiquitous is the modern age of information, and iii) an effective account of perception that incorporates both symbolic and non-symbolic reasoning also taking into account a fusion of the available vast amount of information in existing knowledge bases.


Organizing the 8th International Cognitive Robotics Workshop at AAAI-2012, Toronto, Canada

Our proposal for organizing the 8th International Cognitive Robotics Workshop at the upcoming AAAI conference has been accepted! The workshop chairs are Wolfram Burgard from Albert-Ludwigs-Universitat Freiburg in Germany, Kurt Konolige from Willow Garage USA, Maurice Pagnucco from University of New South Wales in Australia and me. Some details follow.

The 8th International Cognitive Robotics Workshop (CogRob-2012) will be held on July 22-23, 2012 in Toronto, Canada, as part of the of the Twenty-Sixth Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI-12) workshop programme.

CogRob is a well-established forum that aims to bring together researchers involved in all aspects of the theory and implementation of cognitive robots, to discuss current work and future directions. While the emphasis of the workshop is on the methods and techniques developed in the field of Artificial Intelligence, we welcome work in related cognitive science disciplines investigating computational/cognitive models of behavior. Also, we especially welcome discussions and demonstrations of implemented systems.

For more information visit the website of CogRob-2012 or the ResearchGate page of CogRob-2012.

A Database-type Approach for Progressing Action Theories with Bounded Effects (Book chapter-2011)

A Database-type Approach for Progressing Action Theories with Bounded Effects, Stavros Vassos, Sebastian Sardina, In Gerhard Lakemeyer and Sheila McIlraith, editors, Knowing, Reasoning, and Acting: Essays in Honour of Hector J. Levesque, College Publications, 2011.
[pdf | citeulike | more]

Continue reading ‘A Database-type Approach for Progressing Action Theories with Bounded Effects (Book chapter-2011)’

A Reasoning Module for Long-Lived Cognitive Agents (Ph.D.-2009)

A Reasoning Module for Long-Lived Cognitive Agents, Stavros Vassos, Ph.D. Thesis, Department of Computer Science, University of Toronto, 2009.
[pdf | citeulike]
Continue reading ‘A Reasoning Module for Long-Lived Cognitive Agents (Ph.D.-2009)’

Progressing basic action theories with non-local effect actions (CS-2009)

Progressing basic action theories with non-local effect actions, Stavros Vassos, Sebastian Sardina, and Hector Levesque, In Proceedings of the Ninth International Symposium on Logical Formalizations of Commonsense Reasoning (CS-09), pages 135-140, Toronto, Canada, 2009.
[pdf | citeulike| slides]
Continue reading ‘Progressing basic action theories with non-local effect actions (CS-2009)’

Progressing basic action theories with non-local effect actions (PLS-2009)

Please refer to the longer version of the paper that has been published in Commonsense 2009 here.

First-Order Strong Progression for Local-Effect Basic Action Theories (KR-2008)

First-Order Strong Progression for Local-Effect Basic Action Theories, Stavros Vassos, Gerhard Lakemeyer, and Hector Levesque, In Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Principles of Knowledge Representation and Reasoning (KR-08), Sydney, Australia, 2008.
[pdf | citeulike | slides]
Continue reading ‘First-Order Strong Progression for Local-Effect Basic Action Theories (KR-2008)’

Outstanding Paper Honorable Mention Award in AAAI-2008!!!

Our accepted AAAI-08 paper received an award! HOORAY! :)))
What follows is (part of) the email I received about the award.

Dear Stavros and Hector,

On behalf of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence and the AAAI-08 Program Committee, we are pleased to inform you that your paper, entitled “On the Progression of Situation Calculus Basic Action Theories: Resolving a 10-year-old Conjecture,” has been selected for Honorable Mention at AAAI-08.

Each year AAAI’s Conference on Artificial Intelligence honors papers that exemplify high standards in technical contribution and exposition. Papers were recommended for this status by members of the Program Committee during the blind review process. The winning papers were selected by the Program Chairs with the help of some members of the Senior Program Committee.

In recognition of your achievement, you and your coauthors will be presented with certificates by the AAAI-08 Program Cochairs, Dieter Fox and Carla Gomes, during their opening remarks on Tuesday, July 15, at 8:30 am. There will also be an announcement of this honor in the front matter of the AAAI-08 Proceedings.

More on the paper here and more on the award here.

Progression of Situation Calculus Action Theories with Incomplete Information (IJCAI-2007)

Progression of Situation Calculus Action Theories with Incomplete Information, Stavros Vassos and Hector Levesque, In Proceedings of the 20th International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI-07), pages 2024–2029, Hyderabad, India, 2007.
[pdf | citeulike | slides]

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