Research Project: Modeling and Solving the Waiter's Tray Puzzle using AI Planning




Many real-world problems -- such as puzzle games -- are actually planning problems, i.e., problems where a sequence of actions must be taken that transform the initial world state into one where all desired properties hold. Such problems can thus be modeled as planning problems, either using the PDDL description language or using HDDL, where the latter is a language for hierarchical planning problems (you do not need to know yet what that means).

In this project, you will:

  • Model the Waiter's Tray puzzle in at least PDDL, potentially HDDL as well if time allows.
  • Conduct an empirical evaluation thus comparing different planning and also different versions of the model (i.e., with and without conditional effects).
  • Present the result in your project report.


  • Model the Waiter's Tray problem in multiple variants using AI planning models.
  • Conduct an empirical evaluation.


  • AI Planning knowledge would be highly beneficial but technically not required

Please send me:

  • The course code.
  • The URL of your course.
  • The number of points your course has (i.e., 6, 12, 24, or 24 honours final project).
  • When you would like to do your project.

Background Literature

Further material:


  • You will be able to model planning problems and conduct empirical evaluations.


  • Artificial Intelligence
  • AI Planning
  • Puzzle Games

Updated:  10 August 2021/Responsible Officer:  Dean, CECS/Page Contact:  CECS Marketing