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Principles of AI Planning - Overview

Lecturers: Prof. Dr. Bernhard Nebel and Dr. Robert Mattmüller

Exercises: David Speck

Time and place

Lecture: online via ILIAS
Exercises: online via ILIAS + virtual meeting Fridays at 16:00


The lecture will be given in English, and the lecture slides will be in English as well. Exercises may be answered in German or English.


The lecture provides a detailed introduction to the theoretical and algorithmic foundations of modern AI planning systems. In detail, we will cover the following topics:

  • Formalization of planning
  • Planning as search; progression and regression
  • Satisficing heuristic-search planning using relaxation heuristics
  • Optimal heuristic-search planning using abstraction heuristics
  • Optimal heuristic-search planning using landmark heuristics
  • State-space pruning techniques for planning
  • Planning in nondeterministic domains
  • Theoretical complexity of planning


The course is primarily aimed at Masters students majoring in Computer Science, but advanced Bachelors students in their final year and CS minors with the necessary background are also welcome.

The essential concepts from complexity theory (NP completeness, polynomial reductions) should be known. We also expect basic knowledge of the basic search algorithms covered in the lecture on Foundations of Artificial Intelligence, such as depth-first search, breadth-first search, heuristic search with the A* algorithm, or greedy best-first search. Basic knowledge of (propositional) logic is expected.

Exercises and Exam

Bachelors and Masters students in Computer Science can take this course as part of their specialization in the area of cognitive technical systems. There will be a final exam that needs to be passed which will be oral or written, at our discretion, depending on the number of students registered for the exam. The exam will take place in the semester break after the course.

During the semester there will be weekly exercises (theoretical assignments and occasional implementation projects). To successfully complete the Studienleistung it is necessary to reach 50% of all points.

Exercises and projects may be worked on in groups of three. Larger groups or copied solutions will not be accepted and result in nonadmission to the exam.

In this course 6 ECTS credits can be earned.


Lecture slides, homework assignments, a bibliography, and possibly lecture recordings will be made available via ILIAS.

The ILIAS course room will be opened on November 2, 2020.

Lecture recordings and slides can be found in ILIAS and are intended to be consumed asynchronously. On Fridays at 16:00, there will be virtual meetings (synchronous) where the instructors will be available to answer questions about the material of the present week, and where, additionally, the homework assignments handed in the previous week will be discussed.

More details regarding the virtual meetings will be provided soon via email through HISInOne and via ILIAS.

We will attempt to make all students registered for the course via HISInOne members of the ILIAS course room automatically. If you are registered via HISInOne, but do not have access to the ILIAS course room by November 2, 2020, please let us know.