||This article provides insufficient context for those unfamiliar with the subject. (February 2013)
||This article only describes one highly specialized aspect of its associated subject. (February 2013)
A robotic paradigm can be described by the relationship between the three primitives of robotics: Sense, Plan, and Act. It can also be described by how sensory data is processed and distributed through the system, and where decisions are made.
Hierarchical/Deliberative Paradigm 
- The robot operates in a top-down fashion, heavy on planning.
- The robot senses the world, plans the next action, acts; at each step the robot explicitly plans the next move.
- All the sensing data tends to be gathered into one global world model.
Hierarchical Paradigm schema
- Sense-act type of organization.
- The robot has multiple instances of Sense-Act couplings.
- These couplings are concurrent processes, called behaviours, which take the local sensing data and compute the best action to take independently of what the other processes are doing.
- The robot will do a combination of behaviours.
Reactive Paradigm schema
Hybrid Deliberate/Reactive Paradigm 
- The robot first plans (deliberates) how to best decompose a task into subtasks (also called “mission planning”) and then what are the suitable behaviours to accomplish each subtask.
- Then the behaviours starts executing as per the Reactive Paradigm.
- Sensing organization is also a mixture of Hierarchical and Reactive styles; sensor data gets routed to each behaviour that needs that sensor, but is also available to the planner for construction of a task-oriented global world model.
Hybrid Deliberate/Reactive Paradigm schema
See also