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G. Sharon, R. Stern, M. Goldenberg and A. Felner. Pruning Techniques for the Increasing Cost Tree Search for Optimal Multi-Agent Pathfinding. In Proceedings of the Symposium on Combinatorial Search (SoCS), 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. In Sharon et. al. (2011), we introduced a novel two-level search algorithm framework for this problem. The high-level searches a novel search tree called increasing cost tree (ICT). The low-level performs a goal test on each ICT node. The new framework, called ICT search (ICTS), showed to run faster than the previous state-of-the-art A* approach by up to three orders of magnitude in many cases. In this paper we focus on the low-level of ICTS which performs the goal test. We introduce a number of optional pruning techniques that can significantly speed up the goal test. We discuss these pruning techniques and provide supporting experimental results.

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(last updated in 2020)