Decidability and complexity of action-based temporal planning over dense time


In this paper, we study the computational complexity of action-based temporal planning interpreted over dense time. When time is assumed to be discrete, the problem is known to be EXPSPACE-complete. However, the official PDDL 2.1 semantics and many implementations interpret time as a dense domain. This work provides several results about the complexity of the problem, focusing on some particularly interesting cases: whether a minimum amount ε of separation between mutually exclusive events is given, in contrast to the separation being simply required to be non-zero, and whether or not actions are allowed to overlap already running instances of themselves. We prove the problem to be PSPACE-complete when self-overlap is forbidden, whereas, when it is allowed, it becomes EXPSPACE-complete with ε-separation and even undecidable with non-zero separation. These results clarify the computational consequences of different choices in the definition at the core of the PDDL 2.1 semantics, which have been vague until now.