PhD or Research Project: Various topics From Theory to Practice in Planning and/or Modeling & Solving Games




There is a multitude of different planning formalisms. In particular, I'm an expert in Hierarchical Task Network (HTN) planning, and in (non-hierarchical) Partial Order Causal Link (POCL) planning. I offer various topics in both areas, and in further ones, depending on your interest and/or background.

Most of my research is concerned with HTN planning, which is concerned with the step-wise refinement of abstract tasks until a primitive plan is found -- so hierarchical planning is very similar to formal grammars, where an initial non-terminal symbol is refined into a sequence of terminal symbols. The main differences are that (a) primitive tasks (corresponding to terminal symbols) have preconditions and effects, to not every plan is executable and (b) the means to refine compound tasks (which correspond to production rules from formal grammars) are only partially ordered rather than totally as in formal grammars.

If you are interested in doing your PhD, please visit

If you are looking for a research project, please visot

(Please note that each Monday around noon my personal webpage is not reachable (i.e., offline) for approx. 2 hours. If you happen to visit it in that time, just visit again a bit later.)


Depend on the concrete topic chosen.


  • A solid understanding of theoretical computer science (e.g., of the classes P, NP, NP-complete, etc.) is helpful or even required for most topics, but definitely not for all of them
  • Prior knowledge in Classical Planning and/or Artificial Intelligence search (such as A*) will definitely be advantageous, but it's not strictly required

Background Literature

See my HTN survey from  IJCAI 2019 and/or the respective research project description.


Depends on the concrete topic chosen.


  • Complexity Theory
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Automated Planning

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