Important Dates

  • March 11, 2016
    Paper submission
  • April 6, 2016
  • May 11, 2016
  • June 14, 2016

Scheduling and Planning Applications woRKshop (SPARK)

Application domains that contain planning and scheduling (P&S) problems pose a combination of issues, from modelling to technological to institutional, that present challenges to the AI planning and scheduling community. New domains and real-world problems are becoming increasingly affordable for AI. The international Scheduling and Planning Applications woRKshop (SPARK) series was established to help address the gap between developments in the AI P&S community and application of these advances.

Workshop Aim

The workshop aims to provide a stable forum on relevant topics connected to application-focused research and the deployment of P&S systems. The immediate legacy began in 2007 with the ICAPS'07 Workshop on Moving Planning and Scheduling Systems into the Real World, and continued in 2008-2015 with successful yearly editions.

The websites of the previous editions of the workshop series are available at These workshops presented a stimulating environment where researchers could discuss the opportunity and challenges in moving P&S developments into practice, and analyze domains and problem instances under study for, or closely inspired by, real industrial/commercial deployment of P&S techniques.

This is the 10th edition of SPARK. The previous editions saw substantial attendance with respect to other collocated events (about 30+ people every year since 2007). This success, together with the recent creation of the Novel Applications track at ICAPS make SPARK:

  • The ideal incubator to test, discuss, mature and improve potential papers for that main track with the feedback of an excellent audience
  • A great place for the inception of new applications and challenges

The challenges and discussions that emerged in the last years' editions set the baseline for this year's SPARK workshop. A goal of the workshop series is the definition of a longer term set of challenges that could be of benefit for the research community as well as practitioners.

Authors of accepted papers will be encouraged to share their domains and instances, or parts of them, towards a library of practical benchmarking problems that could also be useful for the community.


The workshop will retain the successful format of previous SPARK editions. In order to foster discussion amongst speakers and attendees, reviewers of submissions will be asked to write a public critique of each paper composed by a set of public questions or thoughts, in addition to regular private comments to the authors and confidential comments to the organizers. These critiques will also be provided to the authors in advance of the workshop and distributed among the workshop attendees.

Each session will consist of presentations of technical papers, their commentaries, and a short discussion on the topic of papers.


Starting from the results of the previous editions, SPARK'16 will deepen the debate on application-relevant aspects of P&S theory and practice, with the aim of reporting and discussing experiences relating to deploying P&S systems.

Topics of the workshop include, but are not limited to:

  • Novel domains and benchmark or challenge problems
  • Experiences in deploying P&S systems, from their conception to their maturity in practice
  • Comparison with previously existing technologies and/or systems
  • Integration of operational knowledge from existing legacy components
  • Integration of multiple sources of knowledge and reasoning schemes (actions, time, resources)
  • Modelling and domain model acquisition
  • Handling dynamic and uncertain sources of knowledge
  • Algorithmic and technological issues
  • Plan execution and replanning
  • Mixed initiative approaches
  • User interface design, visualization and explanation
  • Machine learning methodologies applied to P&S systems
  • Engineering, deployment, and maintenance
  • Evaluation, testing, and validation
  • Assessment of impact on end users


Tuesday (June 14, 2016)

8:50Session 1: Space
Managing Spacecraft Memory Buffers with Overlapping Store and Dump Operations
Gregg Rabideau, Steve Chien, Federico Nespoli and Marc Costa
Using Operations Scheduling to Optimize Constellation Design
Steve Schaffer, Andrew Branch, Steve Chien, Stephen Broschart, Sonia Hernandez, Konstantin Belov, Joseph Lazio, Loren Clare, Philip Tsao, Julie Castillo-Rogez and E. Jay Wyatt
TIAGO – Tool for Intelligent Allocation of Ground Operations on Cluster-II
Simone Fratini, Nicolas Faerber, Nicola Policella and Bruno Teixeira De Sousa
Prioritization and Oversubscribed Scheduling for NASA’s Deep Space Network
Caroline Shouraboura, Mark Johnston and Daniel Tran
10:30Coffee Break
11:00Session 2: Security & Web
Efficient High Quality Plan Exploration for Network Security
Anton Riabov, Shirin Sohrabi, Octavian Udrea and Oktie Hassanzadeh
Constructing Plan Trees for Simulated Penetration Testing
Guy Shani, Joerg Hoffmann, Dorin Shmaryahu and Marcel Steinmetz
Automatic Resolution of Policy Conflicts in IoT Environments Through Planning
Emre Goynugur, Kartik Talamadupula, Geeth De Mel and Murat Sensoy
13:50Session 3: Marine
Evaluating Scientific Coverage Strategies for A Heterogeneous Fleet of Marine Assets Using a Predictive Model of Ocean Currents
Andrew Branch, Martina Troesch, Steve Chien, Yi Chao, John Farrara and Andrew Thompson
Planning Autonomous Underwater Reconnaissance Operations
Sara Bernardini, Maria Fox, Derek Long and Bram Ridder
14:40Session 4: Natural Language & Biology
Search Challenges in Natural Language Generation with Complex Optimization Objectives
Vera Demberg, Joerg Hoffmann, David M. Howcroft, Dietrich Klakow and Álvaro Torralba
Exploring Organic Synthesis with State-of-the-Art Planning Techniques
Rami Matloob and Mikhail Soutchanski
15:30Coffee Break
16:00Session 5: Reguirement Analysis & Manufacturing
Deploying a Schedule Optimization Tool for Vehicle Testing
Jeremy Ludwig, Annaka Kalton, Robert Richards, Brian Bautsch, Craig Markusic and Cyndi Jones
Planning Machine Activity Between Manufacturing Operations: Maintaining Accuracy While Reducing Energy Consumption
Simon Parkinson, Andrew Longstaff, Simon Fletcher, Mauro Vallati and Lukas Chrpa
Using Hierarchical Models for Requirement Analysis of Real World Problems in Automated Planning
Rosimarci Tonaco-Basbaum, Javier Silva and Reinaldo Silva

Important Dates

  • Submission deadline for papers: March 4, 2016. Extended to March 11, 2016
  • Notification of acceptance/rejection: April 6, 2016
  • Camera-ready version due: May 11, 2016
  • Workshop Date: 14 June 2016


  • Sara Bernardini, Royal Holloway University of London, UK.
  • Steve Chien, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, USA
  • Shirin Sohrabi, IBM, USA
  • Simon Parkinson, University of Huddersfield, UK

Programme Committee

  • Bram Ridder, King's College London
  • Riccardo De Benedictis, CNR - National Research Council o Italy
  • Riccardo Rasconi, ISTC-CNR
  • Mark Johnston, JPL/California Inst. of Technology
  • Minh Do, NASA Ames Research Center
  • Simone Fratini, European Space Agency - ESA/ESOC
  • Adrien Maillard, ONERA
  • Angelo Oddi, ISTC-CNR, Italian National Research Council
  • Tiago Stegun Vaquero, MIT and Caltech
  • Alexandre Albore, Onera & INRA
  • Kartik Talamadupula, IBM Research, USA
  • Christophe Guettier, SAGEM
  • Ramiro Varela, University of Oviedo
  • Patrik Haslum, ANU
  • Nicola Policella, ESA/ESOC
  • Bryan O’gorman, NASA Ames Research Center