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G. Sharon, R. Stern, A. Felner and N. Sturtevant. The Increasing Cost Tree Search for Optimal Multi-Agent Pathfinding. In Proceedings of the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI), pages 662-667, 2011.

Abstract: We address the problem of optimal path finding for multiple agents where agents must not collide and their total travel cost should be minimized. Previous work used traditional single-agent search variants of the A* algorithm. We present a novel formalization for this problem which includes a search tree called the increasing cost tree (ICT) and a corresponding search algorithm that finds optimal solutions. We analyze this new formalization and compare it to the previous state-of-the-art A*-based approach. Experimental results on various domains show the benefits and drawbacks of this approach. A speedup of up to 3 orders of magnitude was obtained in a number of cases.

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