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AI Planning for Autonomy (COMP90054)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codeCOMP90054
Semester 2
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date


The key focus of this subject is the foundations of automated planning and reasoning and their real-world applications. Automated planning is the AI approach to developing agents that make their own decisions and is becoming increasingly popular. Autonomous agents are active entities that perceive their environment, reason, plan and execute appropriate actions to achieve their goals, in service of their users (the real world, human beings, or other agents). This subject shows how this work is relevant for many applications beyond the traditional area of artificial intelligence, such as resource scheduling, logistics, process management, service composition, intelligent sensing and robotics. The subject focuses on the foundations that enable agents to reason autonomously about goals, perception, actions and the knowledge of other agents during collaborative task execution.

This subject is an elective subject in the Master of Science (Computer Science) and Master of Information Technology, in particular for the Distributed Computing and the Computing Specialisations. It can also be taken as an Advanced Elective subject in the Master of Engineering (Software).


Topics are drawn from the field of advanced artificial intelligence including:

  • Search algorithms and heuristic functions
  • Classical (AI) planning
  • Probabilistic planning
  • Non-deterministic planning
  • Reinforcement learning
  • Multi-agent and epistemic planning
  • Game theory
  • Ethics in AI planning

Intended learning outcomes


On completion of this subject the student is expected to:

  1. Understand the theoretical concepts of automated planning and reasoning techniques
  2. Be able to apply agent modelling techniques to analyse, design and implement a small agent-based system
  3. Be able to evaluate, design, and implement automated planning and reasoning techniques
  4. Understand the strengths and weaknesses of different automated planning and reasoning approaches for software agents
  5. Be able to apply automated planning and concurrent programming techniques to non-trivial distributed problems.

Generic skills

On completion of the subject the students should have the following skills:

  • Ability to undertake problem identification, formulation, and solution
  • Ability to utilise a systems approach to complex problems and to design and operational performance
  • Ability to manage information and documentation
  • Capacity for creativity and innovation Ability to communicate effectively with both the engineering team and the community at large.

Eligibility and requirements


To enrol in this subject, students must satisfy one of these conditions:

  • Be admitted into the 100 pt program of the MC-IT (Master of Information Technology)
  • Be admitted into the Master of Science (Computer Science)

Code Name Teaching period Credit Points
COMP20007 Design of Algorithms
Semester 1
COMP90038 Algorithms and Complexity
Semester 1
Semester 2
COMP20003 Algorithms and Data Structures
Semester 2
ENGR30003 Numerical Programming for Engineers
Semester 2



Non-allowed subjects


Recommended background knowledge

SWEN20003 Object Oriented Software Development or COMP90041 Programming and Software Development

Basic understanding of logic and set theory. Basic understanding of introductory probability theory.

Core participation requirements

The University of Melbourne is committed to providing students with reasonable adjustments to assessment and participation under the Disability Standards for Education (2005), and the Assessment and Results Policy (MPF1326). Students are expected to meet the core participation requirements for their course. These can be viewed under Entry and Participation Requirements for the course outlines in the Handbook.

Further details on how to seek academic adjustments can be found on the Student Equity and Disability Support website: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/student-equity/home


Additional details

  • One programming-based assignment (10%) of approximately 1000 words between Weeks 4 to 5, taking approximately 13 - 15 hours or work, including preparation. Intended learning Outcomes (ILOs) 1, 3, and 4 are addressed in this assignment.
  • One team-based project (30%) due in weeks 11-12, involving 2 to 3 team members, requiring approximately 35 - 40 hours of work per student. ILOs 2-4 are addressed in this assignment
  • One team-based presentation (10%) of approximately 8-10 minutes duration due in week 12, involving 2 to 3 team members, each member contributing approximately 10-12 hours of work. ILO 1 and 4 are addressed in this team-based assignment
  • One written 2-hour closed book end-of-semester examination (50%). ILOs 1, 3, 4, and 5 are addressed in the exam.

Hurdle requirement: The examination is a hurdle and must be passed to pass the subject.

Dates & times

  • Semester 2
    Principal coordinatorTimothy Miller
    Mode of deliveryOn Campus — Parkville
    Contact hours36 hours, comprising of two 1-hour lectures and one 1-hour workshop per week
    Total time commitment200 hours
    Teaching period29 July 2019 to 27 October 2019
    Last self-enrol date 9 August 2019
    Census date31 August 2019
    Last date to withdraw without fail27 September 2019
    Assessment period ends22 November 2019

    Semester 2 contact information

    Dr Nir Lipovetzky

    email: nir.lipovetzky@unimelb.edu.au

Time commitment details

200 hours

Further information

  • Texts

    Prescribed texts

  • Subject notes


    The subject involves two 1-hour lectures per week followed by a 1 one hour workshop held in a computer laboratory. Weekly readings are assigned from textbooks, and weekly laboratory exercises are assigned. A significant amount of project work is assigned.


    At the beginning of the year, the coordinator will propose textbook(s) on computer graphics and interaction and will be made available through the University Book Shop and library. Students will have access to lecture notes and lecture slides. The subject LMS site also contains links to recommended literature and current survey papers of software agent principles.


    The IT industry is a large and steadily growing industry and advanced artificial intelligence techniques such as software agents are increasingly an integral part of the many facets of this industry. The University of Melbourne and Microsoft have created a new teaching innovative, Apps@Melbourne, for the many talented students keen on developing Apps for tablet computers. Students enrolled in this subject have the opportunity to publish Apps they have developed on the store to be made available to the wider community.

  • Available through the Community Access Program

    About the Community Access Program (CAP)

    This subject is available through the Community Access Program (also called Single Subject Studies) which allows you to enrol in single subjects offered by the University of Melbourne, without the commitment required to complete a whole degree.

    Entry requirements including prerequisites may apply. Please refer to the CAP applications page for further information.

    Additional information for this subject

    Subject coordinator approval required

  • Available to Study Abroad and/or Study Exchange Students

    This subject is available to students studying at the University from eligible overseas institutions on exchange and study abroad. Students are required to satisfy any listed requirements, such as pre- and co-requisites, for enrolment in the subject.

Last updated: 20 June 2019