Getting to the Airport: The Oldest Planning Problem in AI

  • Vladimir Lifschitz
  • Norman McCain
  • Emilio Remolina
  • Armando Tacchella
Part of the The Springer International Series in Engineering and Computer Science book series (SECS, volume 597)


The problem discussed in this paper is described in a 1959 paper by John McCarthy as follows: Assume that I am seated at my desk at home and I wish to go to the airport. My car is at my home also. The solution of the problem is to walk to the car and drive the car to the airport. In the spirit of what is now known as the logic approach to AI, McCarthy proposed to address this problem by first giving “a formal statement of the premises” that a reasoning program would use to draw the relevant conclusions. Our goal here is to take a careful look at this episode from the early history of AI and to identify some of the logical and algorithmic ideas related to the airport problem that have emerged over the years.


Action languages C language causation Causal Calculator deduction frame problem nonmonotonic reasoning planning 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vladimir Lifschitz
    • 1
  • Norman McCain
    • 2
  • Emilio Remolina
    • 3
  • Armando Tacchella
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity of Texas at AustinAustinUSA
  2. 2.Baker UniversityUSA
  3. 3.University of Texas at AustinUSA
  4. 4.Universitá di GenovaItaly

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