A Comparison of TRAINS and TRIPS

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TRIPS, The Rochester Interactive Planning System, is the latest in a series of research prototypes. Its immediate predecessor, the TRAINS system, was one of the first systems to participate in an end-to-end conversation with a human to accomplish a planning-like task.

Compared to TRAINS:

  • TRIPS operates in a significantly more complex logistics and transportation world, with cargos being delivered using a variety of vehicles (TRAINS was concerned exclusively with routing trains between cities).
  • TRIPS performs significantly more complex planning, including coordinating the actions of multiple agents, reasoning about temporally extended actions, handling some resource constraints, and so on, all as quickly as possible (TRAINS really didn't need to do much planning, since the task was essentially one of routing).
  • TRIPS has a more sophisticated graphical view of the plan(s) under consideration, including a construction window view (timeline) modeled after Adobe Premiere's and task palettes modeled after Photoshop's layers. It also has a few types of charts that can be used to answer certain kinds of queries from the manager (In TRAINS there was only the map display).
  • TRIPS supports ``what-if'' scenarios for comparing options, for example ``What if we went along the coast?'' or ``What if we used a helicopter instead?''
  • TRIPS includes a simulator module that performs multi-run stochastic simulation of plans, gathers statistics on action executions and the world state, and produces results that can be viewed with the same tools. It also performs data-mining to extract events that significantly affect plan success or failure and communicates these to the user.
  • TRIPS, like TRAINS, is a multi-process, fully-networkable set of modules that exchange KQML message through a general-purpose Input Manager. In TRIPS, even more of the functionality is divided into separate modules, improving code modularity, development and debugging, and often performance.

The TRAINS system established the feasibility of the dialogue-based approach to building a collaborative planning assistant. The TRIPS system continues this development by supporting scenarios complex enough for humans to require the system's help in order to solve problems effectively.

Last change: 28 Nov 2000 by stent