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Many industrial and commercial applications of planning technology have to reason about numbers. For example, in the area of autonomous systems and robotics, an autonomous robot often has to reason about its position in space, power levels and storage capacities. We call the internal representation that the robot has of its environment its model of the world. It is essential for these models to be easy to construct and ideally, they should be automatically constructed.
The major difficulty of algorithm design has always been identified with the understanding of the combinatorial structure underlying the optimisation problem at hand. However, this might be only one source of complexity for algorithm design. Indeed, the emergence of the Internet as the computing platform has enriched the picture by highlighting the presence of agents that selfishly evaluate the outcome of the computation.
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