What the heck is a relaxed plan anyway?

Glad you asked! relaxedplan is my username on twitter, github and so on…

In STRIPS planning, a relaxation is the removal of a restriction. These relaxations lead to relaxed plans.

For instance, let’s devise a plan to visit all state capitals in Australia with minimum distance by car. Optimap gives an optimal plan starting in Perth and ending in Darwin via Highways 94, 1 and A1.

What if we didn’t have detailed road information to build a solution? We could relax the restriction that we need to travel on roads (potentially the car can fly) and use haversine distance. The problem would become much easier, but we would come to the same result of starting in Perth and ending in Darwin (or the reverse). This is a relaxed plan.

In general, I find relaxed planning a useful philosophy. The higher we set our goals, as individuals and communities, the harder it can be to figure out how to get there. But you still need to build a plan, and if you can’t see a way forward, relaxed plans can help.