Pascal Bercher

Senior Lecturer, ARC DECRA Fellow, and HDR Convener Intelligent Systems

Picture of Pascal Bercher

Hanna Neumann Building 145, Office 3.36


+61 2 6125 0322

Computing Foundations
Intelligent Systems


Google Scholar


If you want to learn more about me, my personal website presents my entire academic CV.

  • Jan. 2022-today: (tenure-track) Senior Lecturer (US/Europe-equivalent: Associate Professor) at the ANU.
  • Nov. 2019-Dec. 2021: (tenure-track) Lecturer (US/Europe-equivalent: Assistant Professor) at the ANU.
  • Oct. 2016-Oct. 2019: Project coordinator (over the entire runtime) of the technology transfer project “Do it yourself, but not alone: Companion-Technology for Home Improvement”, which was a collaboration between two Institutes of Ulm University and the Corporate Research Sector of Robert Bosch GmbH.
  • July 2009-Dec. 2017: Dr. rer. nat. at the Institute of Artificial Intelligence of Ulm University, Germany. My supervisor was Prof. Dr. Susanne Biundo-Stephan.
  • Oct. 2003-June 2009: Studies of Computer Science (Diploma, which is roughly Bachelor + Master in one degree) at the University of Freiburg, Germany.


My research area is Artificial Intelligence (AI) Planning, also often referred to as Automated Planning. More specifically, I’m an expert for the following planning areas:

  • Hierarchical Task Network (HTN) planning and
  • Partial Order Causal Link (POCL) planning.

The first is a hierarchical approach to planning that bases upon problem decomposition refining an abstract problem until it’s “primitive” and thus solved. (I also created a website for this discipline.) The second is concerned with reasoning about partially ordered sets of actions.

Technology-wise, I’m interested in:

  • Computational Complexity Analysis
  • Algorithm and Heuristic Design
  • Providing Modeling Assistance (this involves the above two!)

Teaching, Project, and PhD Supervision

This is just an excerpt of my teaching activities. For a complete list, visit my personal webpage (teaching).

  • Coursework:
    • Currently, in S2 2023, I am the co-convenor of Algorithms (COMP3600/6466) and teach 4 of 12 weeks. The main convenor, teaching the remaining weeks, is Ahad Zehmakan.
  • Undergraduate research projects:
    • I supervise several research projects each semester. You find a list of topics and several further information on my personal webpage (projects). For the current semester, S2 2023, I will not accept additional applications. But please note that on the linked webpage I give advice where and how to find alternative supervisors!
  • Looking for a PhD?
    • If you want to do your PhD specifically under my supervision, just approach me directly. But you must check out my personal webpage (prospective PhD students), otherwise I will ignore your request. Fun fact: I ignore 19/20 applications because they don’t do this…
    • If you are more open towards the specific topic you work on, please visit the linked webpage anyway, as I also mention some other possibilities there, i.e., with different supervisors, both at the ANU and external.

Service Roles

I take multiple service roles at the ANU:

  • I’m a member of CECC’s Work, Health, and Safety (WHS) committee
  • I’m a first Aider and mental first aider
  • I’m an incident investigator
  • I’m a member of the SoCo PhD scholarship committee

For a more detailed list, visit my personal webpage (service).


I publish quite a bit, please find all my publications (with bibtex and PDFs) on my personal webpage (publications).

You can also find me on google scholar and DBLP.

Honours & Awards

I list the most important/prestigious ones below. For a complete list visit my personal webpage (awards).

  • Research Awards:
    • Winner of 5 of 6 tracks on HTN Planning of the International Planning Competition (IPC) 2023 at ICAPS 2023. (I did not participate in the sixth track.)
    • ICAPS 2022 Best Undergraduate Student Paper Award (second of two authors)
    • ICAPS 2021 Best Undergraduate Student Paper Award (second of two authors)
    • ICAPS 2019 Best Dissertation Award
    • ICAPS 2018 Best Student Paper Award (second of four authors)
    • ICTAI 2018 Best Paper Award (third of four authors)
  • Best reviewer Awards:
    • ICAPS Outstanding Senior Program Committee (SPC) Member Award 2022
    • AAAI Outstanding Program Committee (PC) Member Award 2021
    • AAAI Outstanding Program Committee (PC) Member Award 2019
    • Theoretical Computer Science journal (year omitted to remain anonymity)

Note that ICAPS is the premier conference for Planning and Scheduling, and ranked A* by CORE. Likewise, AAAI is one of two top-tier conferences for AI in general, and also ranked A* by CORE. ICTAI is ranked B and a large platform for AI research as well.

What can somehow be regarded an award: I was arwarded the Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA), making me an ARC DECRA Fellow (from 2024 to 2026). This is a research project, which funds, among others, two PhD students who will, with me and under my supervision, work on a research project I developed. This research focuses on modeling support for Automated Planning. The following is the publicly available abstract of the funded proposal:

Artificial Intelligence (AI) planning technology is used to control systems like automated factories, robots, or to solve complex optimisation problems. Creating these models is however rather complex and error-prone and requires experts to create them in the first place. This project aims at developing techniques and tools for automated modelling support. They will make the modelling process easier and guarantee desired model properties such as the desired system behaviour. The tools will thus contribute towards making the technology more easily accessible to companies that might want to deploy them, while reducing costs for doing so and increasing the quality of these models.

You are on Aboriginal land.

The Australian National University acknowledges, celebrates and pays our respects to the Ngunnawal and Ngambri people of the Canberra region and to all First Nations Australians on whose traditional lands we meet and work, and whose cultures are among the oldest continuing cultures in human history.

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