Skip to main content Skip to main navigation


Plan Reuse versus Plan Generation: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis

Bernhard Nebel; Jana Koehler
DFKI, DFKI Research Reports (RR), Vol. 93-33, 1993.


The ability of a planner to reuse parts of old plans is hypothesized to be a valuable tool for improving efficiency of planning by avoiding the repetition of the same planning effort. We test this hypothesis from an analytical and empirical point of view. A comparative worst-case complexity analysis of generation and reuse under different assumptions reveals that it is not possible to achieve a provable efficiency gain of reuse over generation. Further, assuming "conservative" plan modification, plan reuse can actually be strictly more difficult than plan generation. While these results do not imply that there won't be an efficiency gain in the "average case", retrieval of a good plan may present a serious bottleneck for plan reuse systems, as we will show. Finally, we present the results of an empirical study of three different plan reuse systems, which leads us to the conclusion that the utility of plan-reuse techniques is limited and that these limits have not been determined yet.