Intelligent Systems - Planning and Activity Management

The Planning and Activity Management Group within the Artificial Intelligence Applications Institute (AIAI) in the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh is exploring representations and reasoning mechanisms for inter-agent activity support. The agents may be people or computer systems working in a coordinated fashion. The group explores and develops generic approaches by engaging in specific applied studies. Applications include crisis action planning, command and control, space systems, manufacturing, logistics, construction, procedural assistance, help desks, emergency response, etc.

Our long term aim is the creation and use of task-centric virtual organisations involving people, government and non-governmental organisations, automated systems, grid and web services working alongside intelligent robotic, vehicle, building and environmental systems to respond to very dynamic events on scales from local to global.



  • To put AI planning and activity management technology to productive use
  • To allow for a shared model of objectives, tasks, plans, options and current world state between human and automated agents
  • To develop new generic methods for planning and activity management
  • To participate in relevant standards activities


  • Shared Plan and Activity Representation
  • Intelligent Process Management
  • Knowledge-Based Planning
  • Adaptive Systems Approaches to Planning
  • Constraint Management Technology
  • Knowledge-Based Workflow
  • Intelligent Agent Technology
  • Intelligent Activity and Process State Visualisation
  • Modular, Distributed Systems Integration Architectures


  • Non-combatant Evacuation Operations (NEOs)
  • Search & Rescue, Personnel Recovery
  • Emergency Response (I-Rescue, e-Response)
  • Coalition Peacekeeping Operations
  • Spacecraft Mission Planning
  • Unmanned Autonomous Vehicles (UAVs)
  • Construction Planning
  • Logistics
  • Engineering Tasks
  • Systems Management Aids
  • Business Management Tasks
  • Help Desks and Assistants
  • Training and Gaming Environments
  • Personal Assistants
  • Robot Companions


  • Stuart Aitken
  • Howard Beck
  • Colin Bell
  • Ken Currie
  • Jessica Chen-Burger
  • Jeff Dalton
  • Roberto Desimone
  • Brian Drabble
  • Mark Drummond
  • Anja Haman
  • Peter Jarvis
  • Ken Johnson
  • John Kingston
  • Richard Kirby
  • John Levine
  • Eva Onaindia
  • Stephen Potter
  • Michael Rovatsos
  • Arthur Seaton
  • Judith Secker
  • Jussi Stader
  • Austin Tate
  • Richard Tobin
  • Gerhard Wickler
  • Ph.D Students:
    • Adam Barker
    • Punyanuch Borwarnginn
    • Peter Clarke
    • Thomas French
    • Danai Korre
    • Natasha Lino
    • Tom McCallum
    • Steve Polyak
    • Glen Reece
    • Clauirton de Siebra
    • Eleanor Sim
    • Henrik Westerberg
    • Alan White
  • Visitors:
    • Colin Bell, University of Iowa
    • Jeff Bradshaw, IHMC, Pensacola, Florida, USA
    • Michal Pechoucek, Czech Technical University, Prague, Czech Republic


Spinout Company

Software Systems

  • Traverser: (1971-72) a graph search problem solver based on the Graph Traverser algorithms of Donald Michie and his colleagues.
  • Interplan: (1972-74) an early planning system whose search was directed by finding and debugging "approaches" that handled the goal structure underlying the problem.
  • Nonlin: (1974-82) the original hierarchical task network, partial-order planner - used as the basis for many text book descriptions of this type of technology. Excalibur was a development of Nonlin which added qualitative process reasoning.
  • O-Plan: (1983-99) an AI planning , execution and plan repair system with extensive representations for temporal, resource and other constraints, support for plan execution monitoring and plan repair "on-the-fly". Runable as a web service.
  • I-X: (2000-2010) a portable cross-platform Java-based planning and collaboration support environment. Aid to multi-agent cooperative work and external services use. Based on the <I-N-C-A> conceptual model.
  • Edinburgh AI Planners on GitHub (archived in GitHub "Arctic Code Vault").


University of Edinburgh Associations

UK Programme Involvement

International Programme Involvement

Contact: Prof. Austin Tate,
AIAI, School of Informatics, The University of Edinburgh, Informatics Forum, Crichton Street, Edinburgh EH8 9AB, UK.
Tel: +44 131 651 3222; E-mail:
Page maintained by Austin Tate (, Last updated: Sun Mar 5 15:13:52 2023
Group Introduction in Japanese (PDF), I-X Introduction in Japanese (PDF)