Masataro Asai and Alex Fukunaga (2017) "Tie-Breaking Strategies for Cost-Optimal Best First Search", Volume 58, pages 67-121

PDF | doi:10.1613/jair.5249

Best-first search algorithms such as A* need to apply tie-breaking strategies in order to decide which node to expand when multiple search nodes have the same evaluation score. We investigate and improve tie-breaking strategies for cost-optimal search using A*. We first experimentally analyze the performance of common tie-breaking strategies that break ties according to the heuristic value of the nodes. We find that the tie-breaking strategy has a significant impact on search algorithm performance when there are 0-cost operators that induce large plateau regions in the search space. Based on this, we develop two new classes of tie-breaking strategies. We first propose a depth diversification strategy which breaks ties according to the distance from the entrance to the plateau, and then show that this new strategy significantly outperforms standard strategies on domains with 0-cost actions. Next, we propose a new framework for interpreting A* search as a series of satisficing searches within plateaus consisting of nodes with the same f-cost. Based on this framework, we investigate a second, new class of tie-breaking strategy, a multi-heuristic tie-breaking strategy which embeds inadmissible, distance-to-go variations of various heuristics within an admissible search. This is shown to further improve the performance in combination with the depth metric.

Click here to return to Volume 58 contents list