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Title: Decision-making model to generate novel emergency response plans for improving coordination during large-scale emergencies
Authors: Tang, P 
Shen, GQP 
Keywords: Emergency command
Emergency response plan
Hierarchical task network planning
Time propagation
Issue Date: Dec-2015
Publisher: Elsevier
Source: Knowledge-based systems, Dec. 2015, v. 90, p. 111-128 How to cite?
Journal: Knowledge-based systems 
Abstract: Developing joint emergency response plans is an effective method to coordinate multi-agency response endeavors. This study presents a novel emergency response plan structure that considers emergency command operation requirements, such as explicitly expressing the incident objective decomposition structure, formalizing decisions in a context-sensitive manner, supporting the synchronization of responding activities with variable interval, encoding complex temporal constraints, and providing temporal flexibility. A decision-making model is developed to generate these domain-specific action plans automatically based on integrating hierarchical task network (HTN) planning and scheduling technologies. This model presents several valuable contributions to existing state-based forwarding HTN planning paradigms. First, an enhanced HTN is designed to record traversed HTN exploration space for constructing of incident objective decomposition structure and decision-making contexts. Second, the model generates temporal flexible action plans that enable the handling of temporal uncertainty in the emergency response domain. A novel concurrency controlling mechanism to ensure the parallelism of response activities with variable intervals is also proposed based on the temporally enhanced planning state that represents a dynamic emergency situation. Finally, the proposed model explicitly represents the starting and ending time of all tasks in the task network to provide complete temporal flexibility. In particular, a dedicated temporal management method taking full advantage of the decomposition structure induced by the HTN planning process is proposed for propagating time constraints on the underling Simple Temporal Network (STN) incrementally. An empirical study on typhoon evacuation demonstrates that the presented model is suitable for solving real-world problems. Therefore, the decision-making model can be applied as a computational model for the development process of emergency response plans, and will be embedded as a reasoning logic in an emergency command decision support system.
ISSN: 0950-7051
DOI: 10.1016/j.knosys.2015.09.027
Rights: © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Knowledge-based Systems. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. The definitive version Tang, P., & Shen, G. Q. (2015). Decision-making model to generate novel emergency response plans for improving coordination during large-scale emergencies. Knowledge-Based Systems, 90, 111-128 is available at
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