How “behaviour trees” generalize the subsumption architecture and some other control architecture frameworks

M. Colledanchise and P. Ögren, “How Behavior Trees Modularize Hybrid Control Systems and Generalize Sequential Behavior Compositions, the Subsumption Architecture, and Decision Trees,” in IEEE Transactions on Robotics, vol. 33, no. 2, pp. 372-389, April 2017.DOI: 10.1109/TRO.2016.2633567.

Behavior trees (BTs) are a way of organizing the switching structure of a hybrid dynamical system (HDS), which was originally introduced in the computer game programming community. In this paper, we analyze how the BT representation increases the modularity of an HDS and how key system properties are preserved over compositions of such systems, in terms of combining two BTs into a larger one. We also show how BTs can be seen as a generalization of sequential behavior compositions, the subsumption architecture, and decisions trees. These three tools are powerful but quite different, and the fact that they are unified in a natural way in BTs might be a reason for their popularity in the gaming community. We conclude the paper by giving a set of examples illustrating how the proposed analysis tools can be applied to robot control BTs.

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