Knowledge in Action

Knowledge in Action

Logical Foundations for Specifying and Implementing Dynamical Systems

By Raymond Reiter

Specifying and implementing dynamical systems with the situation calculus.





Specifying and implementing dynamical systems with the situation calculus.

Modeling and implementing dynamical systems is a central problem in artificial intelligence, robotics, software agents, simulation, decision and control theory, and many other disciplines. In recent years, a new approach to representing such systems, grounded in mathematical logic, has been developed within the AI knowledge-representation community.

This book presents a comprehensive treatment of these ideas, basing its theoretical and implementation foundations on the situation calculus, a dialect of first-order logic. Within this framework, it develops many features of dynamical systems modeling, including time, processes, concurrency, exogenous events, reactivity, sensing and knowledge, probabilistic uncertainty, and decision theory. It also describes and implements a new family of high-level programming languages suitable for writing control programs for dynamical systems. Finally, it includes situation calculus specifications for a wide range of examples drawn from cognitive robotics, planning, simulation, databases, and decision theory, together with all the implementation code for these examples. This code is available on the book's Web site.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262182188 446 pp. | 7.5 in x 9.25 in


$40.00 X ISBN: 9780262527002 446 pp. | 7.5 in x 9.25 in


  • Reiter's new book, Knowledge in Action, offers the first systematic account of the logical approach to cognitive robotics, a field that he and his colleagues have developed over the past decade. The unique feature of this approach rests in its capacity to admit specifications in the form of meaningful knowledge fragments, to piece those fragments together by logical and probabilistic inferences, and to use those inferences to guide both manipulative and perceptual actions by programmable agents. A must for anyone concerned with the foundations of commonsense knowledge or the design of autonomous dynamical systems.

    Judea Pearl

    Department of Computer Science, University of California

  • This book is a masterful integration of several decades of work on first-order logic, situation calculus, logic programming, and semantics of time and knowledge. The result is a unified, well-thought-out, and systematic approach to dynamical systems that spans much of modern computer science and AI.

    Johan van Benthem

    University of Amsterdam

  • This book describes a thoroughly developed logic- and situation-calculus-based system for problem solving and planning. Its emphasis on theory is especially important for the ambitious student who wants to look beyond immediate applications toward the goal of human-level artificial intelligence.

    John McCarthy

    Professor Emeritus of Computer Science, Stanford University

  • This outstanding work should be on the shelf of anyone concerned with logical control of physical processes.

    Anil Nerode

    Goldwin Smith Professor of Mathematics, Cornell University