MyPDDL: Tools for Efficiently Creating PDDL Domains and Problems

  • Volker StrobelEmail author
  • Alexandra Kirsch


The Planning Domain Definition Language (PDDL) is the state-of-the-art language for specifying planning problems in artificial intelligence research. Writing and maintaining these planning problems, however, can be time-consuming and error- prone. To address this issue, we present myPDDL—a modular toolkit for developing and manipulating PDDL domains and problems. To evaluate myPDDL, we compare its features to existing knowledge engineering tools for PDDL. In a user test, we additionally assess two of its modules, namely the syntax highlighting feature and the type diagram generator. The users of syntax highlighting detected 36% more errors than non-users in an erroneous domain file. The average time on task for questions on a PDDL type hierarchy was reduced by 48% when making the type diagram generator available. This implies that myPDDL can support knowledge engineers well in the PDDL design and analysis process.


PDDL Planning Knowledge engineering 


  1. 1.
    Bangor, A., Kortum, P.T., Miller, J.T.: An empirical evaluation of the system usability scale. Intl. Journal of Human–Computer Interaction 24(6), 574–594 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Brooke, J.: Sus—a quick and dirty usability scale. Usability evaluation in industry 189 (1996)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Edelkamp, S., Hoffmann, J.: PDDL2.2: The language for the classical part of the 4th International Planning Competition. 4th International Planning Competition (IPC-04) (2004)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Ellson, J., Gansner, E., Koutsofios, L., North, S.C., Woodhull, G.: Graphviz—open source graph drawing tools. In: Graph Drawing. pp. 483–484. Springer (2002)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Goldman, R.P., Keller, P.: “Type problem in domain description!” or, outsiders’ suggestions for PDDL improvement. WS-IPC 2012 p. 43 (2012)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Guerin, J.T., Hanna, J.P., Ferland, L., Mattei, N., Goldsmith, J.: The academic advising planning domain. WS-IPC 2012 p. 1 (2012)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Helmert, M.: Understanding Planning Tasks: Domain Complexity and Heuristic Decomposition, vol. 4929. Springer (2008)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Hickey, R.: The Clojure programming language. In: Proceedings of the 2008 symposium on Dynamic languages. ACM (2008)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Hwang, W., Salvendy, G.: Number of people required for usability evaluation: the 10±2 rule. Communications of the ACM 53(5), 130–133 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Ilghami, O., Murdock, J.W.: An extension to PDDL: Actions with embedded code calls. In: Proceedings of the ICAPS 2005 Workshop on Plan Execution: A Reality Check. pp. 84–86 (2005)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    McDermott, D., Ghallab, M., Howe, A., Knoblock, C., Ram, A., Veloso, M., Weld, D., Wilkins, D.: PDDL—the planning domain definition language (1998)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Nielsen, J.: Estimating the number of subjects needed for a thinking aloud test. International journal of human-computer studies 41(3), 385–397 (1994)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Norman, D.A.: The design of everyday things. Basic books (2002)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Parkinson, S., Longstaff, A.P.: Increasing the numeric expressiveness of the Planning Domain Definition Language. In: Proceedings of The 30th Workshop of the UK Planning and Scheduling Special Interest Group (PlanSIG2012). UK Planning and Scheduling Special Interest Group (2012)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Plch, T., Chomut, M., Brom, C., Barták, R.: Inspect, edit and debug PDDL documents: Simply and efficiently with PDDL Studio. ICAPS12 System Demonstration (2012)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Sauro, J.: A practical guide to the system usability scale: Background, benchmarks & best practices. Measuring Usability LLC (2011)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Sauro, J., Lewis, J.R.: Quantifying the user experience: Practical statistics for user research. Elsevier (2012)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Shah, M., Chrpa, L., Jimoh, F., Kitchin, D., McCluskey, T., Parkinson, S., Vallati, M.: Knowledge engineering tools in planning: State-of-the-art and future challenges. Knowledge Engineering for Planning and Scheduling (2013)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Shah, M.M., Chrpa, L., Kitchin, D., McCluskey, T.L., Vallati, M.: Exploring knowledge engineering strategies in designing and modelling a road traffic accident management domain. In: Proceedings of the Twenty-Third International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence. pp. 2373–2379. AAAI Press (2013)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Strobel, V., Kirsch, A.: Planning in the wild: Modeling tools for PDDL. In: Lutz, C., Thielscher, M. (eds.) KI 2014: Advances in Artificial Intelligence, LNCS, vol. 8736, pp. 273–284. Springer, Cham, Switzerland (2014)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Vaquero, T.S., Tonidandel, F., de Barros, L.N., Silva, J.R.: On the use of UML.P for modeling a real application as a planning problem. In: ICAPS. pp. 434–437 (2006)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Vaquero, T.S., Tonidandel, F., Silva, J.R.: The itSIMPLE tool for modeling planning domains. Proceedings of the First International Competition on Knowledge Engineering for AI Planning, Monterey, California, USA (2005)Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Vaquero, T., Tonaco, R., Costa, G., Tonidandel, F., Silva, J.R., Beck, J.C.: itSIMPLE4.0: Enhancing the modeling experience of planning problems. In: System Demonstration–Proceedings of the 22nd International Conference on Automated Planning & Scheduling (ICAPS-12) (2012)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IRIDIAUniversité Libre de BruxellesBrusselsBelgium
  2. 2.Independent ScientistMünchenGermany

Personalised recommendations