AAAI Publications, Twenty-Sixth AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence

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Partial-Expansion A* with Selective Node Generation
Ariel Felner, Meir Goldenberg, Guni Sharon, Roni Stern, Tal Beja, Nathan Sturtevant, Jonathan Schaeffer, Robert Holte

Last modified: 2012-07-14


A* is often described as being `optimal', in that it expands the minimum number of unique nodes. But, A* may generate many extra nodes which are never expanded. This is a performance loss, especially when the branching factor is large. Partial Expansion A* addresses this problem when expanding a node, n, by generating all the children of n but only storing children with the same f-cost as n. n is re-inserted into the OPEN list, but with the f-cost of the next best child. This paper introduces an enhanced version of PEA* (EPEA*). Given a priori domain knowledge, EPEA* generates only the children with the same f-cost as the parent. EPEA* is generalized to its iterative-deepening variant, EPE-IDA*. For some domains, these algorithms yield substantial performance improvements. State-of-the-art results were obtained for the pancake puzzle and for some multi-agent pathfinding instances. Drawbacks of EPEA* are also discussed.

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