Graph Planning with Expected Finite Horizon

10 Feb 2018  ·  Krishnendu Chatterjee, Laurent Doyen ·

Graph planning gives rise to fundamental algorithmic questions such as shortest path, traveling salesman problem, etc. A classical problem in discrete planning is to consider a weighted graph and construct a path that maximizes the sum of weights for a given time horizon $T$. However, in many scenarios, the time horizon is not fixed, but the stopping time is chosen according to some distribution such that the expected stopping time is $T$. If the stopping time distribution is not known, then to ensure robustness, the distribution is chosen by an adversary, to represent the worst-case scenario. A stationary plan for every vertex always chooses the same outgoing edge. For fixed horizon or fixed stopping-time distribution, stationary plans are not sufficient for optimality. Quite surprisingly we show that when an adversary chooses the stopping-time distribution with expected stopping time $T$, then stationary plans are sufficient. While computing optimal stationary plans for fixed horizon is NP-complete, we show that computing optimal stationary plans under adversarial stopping-time distribution can be achieved in polynomial time. Consequently, our polynomial-time algorithm for adversarial stopping time also computes an optimal plan among all possible plans.

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