Regarding Goal Bounding and Jump Point Search

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Yue Hu
Daniel Harabor
Long Qin
Quanjun Yin


Jump Point Search (JPS) is a well known symmetry-breaking algorithm that can substantially improve performance for grid-based optimal pathfinding. When the input grid is static further speedups can be obtained by combining JPS with goal bounding techniques such as Geometric Containers (instantiated as Bounding Boxes) and Compressed Path Databases. Two such methods, JPS+BB and Two-Oracle Path PlannING (Topping), are currently among the fastest known approaches for computing shortest paths on grids. The principal drawback for these algorithms is the overhead costs: each one requires an all-pairs precomputation step, the running time and subsequent storage costs of which can be prohibitive. In this work we consider an alternative approach where we precompute and store goal bounding data only for grid cells which are also jump points. Since the number of jump points is usually much smaller than the total number of grid cells, we can save up to orders of magnitude in preprocessing time and space.

Considerable precomputation savings do not necessarily mean performance degradation. For a second contribution we show how canonical orderings, partial expansion strategies and enhanced intermediate pruning can be leveraged to improve online query performance despite a reduction in preprocessed data. The combination of faster preprocessing and stronger online reasoning leads to three new and highly performant algorithms: JPS+BB+ and Two-Oracle Pathfinding Search (TOPS) based on search, and Topping+ based on path extraction. We give a theoretical analysis showing that each method is complete and optimal. We also report convincing gains in a comprehensive empirical evaluation that includes almost all current and cutting-edge algorithms for grid-based pathfinding.

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