Scheduling and Planning Applications woRKshop (SPARK)

The workshop series 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 2008-2016 with successful yearly editions. 2020 is the 13th edition of SPARK.

The websites of the previous editions of SPARK 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.

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

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.

Accepted papers will be presented in plenary or poster sessions during the workshop. Each presented paper will receive comments from a designated moderator, in order to start the discussion at the workshop.

Schedule (October 22, CET)

All times are shown in CET. Visit the official ICAPS schedule to see the global ICAPS schedule in your local timezone.

8:00 – 8:15: Opening Remarks

8:15 – 9:15: Session 1

9:15 – 9:30: Break

9:30 – 11:00: Session 2

11:00 – 11:15: Break

11:15 – 12:15: Session 3

12:15 – 12:30: Closing remarks


Starting from the results of the previous editions, SPARK’20 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

Important Dates

Since ICAPS has been postponed, we deided to re-open for new submissions. The new dates are as follows:

  • Paper submission: August 3, 2020
  • Notification of acceptance/rejection: September 11, 2020
  • Camera-ready paper submissions: October 9, 2020
  • Workshop date: October 22, 2020

Submission Instructions

Submissions may be regular papers (up to 8 pages plus references) or short position papers (up to 2 pages, including references). All papers should conform to the AAAI formatting guidelines and style (except the AAAI copyright notice can be removed). Submissions will be reviewed by at least three referees. SPARK’20 will be double blind and submissions must be anonymous and not contain author information.

Submissions, in PDF format, must be submitted via the EasyChair site:


The SPARK workshop has a positive history of diversity within the organising committee, programme committee and attendees, including individuals with of different gender, race, nationality, and at different stages in their career. However, to ensure SPARK remains and progresses to being more diverse, part of the organiser’s responsibility this year will be to ensure that SPARK has:

  • A programme committee that has true diversity, consisting of an equal split of gender and inclusion of under-represented gender identifications, where possible and without positive discrimination. A maximum of three reviewers from any country. This will be done based on the country of their main residing organisation. Of the three, there must only be one member for the career stages of: Early, Established, Leading.
  • Papers are reviewed double-blind in an attempt to ensure all submitted papers are fairly reviewed and unconscious bias is minimised.
  • Presentations by accepted papers will be prioritised and balanced throughout the sessions to ensure diversity is throughout SPARK sessions.
  • Diversity information will be collected on submitted papers, accepted papers, programme committee, and attendees. We will ensure consent is granted before information is collected and anonymised. We plan to publish abstract statistics as part of the SPARK proceedings to ensure transparency and as comparative future measure.


  • Sara Bernardini, Royal Holloway University of London, UK
  • Andrew Branch, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology
  • Riccardo De Benedictis, National Research Council of Italy, IT
  • Simon Parkinson, University of Huddersfield, UK