AAAI Publications, Fourth Annual Symposium on Combinatorial Search

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Faster Optimal and Suboptimal Hierarchical Search
Michael J. Leighton, Wheeler Ruml, Robert C. Holte

Last modified: 2011-07-05


In problem domains for which an informed admissible heuristic function is not available, one attractive approach is hierarchical search. Hierarchical search uses search in an abstracted version of the problem to dynamically generate heuristic values. This paper makes two contributions to hierarchical search. First, we propose a simple modification to the state-of-the-art algorithm Switchback that reduces the number of expansions (and hence the running time) by approximately half, while maintaining its guarantee of optimality. Second, we propose a new algorithm for suboptimal hierarchical search, called Switch. Empirical results suggest that Switch yields faster search than straightforward modifications of Switchback, such as weighting the heuristic or greedy search. The success of Switch illustrates the potential for further research on specifically suboptimal hierarchical search.


hierarchical; search; optimal; suboptimal; Short Circuit; Switch

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