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E. Boyarski, D. Harabor, P. Stuckey, P. Le Bodic and A. Felner. f-Cardinal Conflicts in Conflict-Based Search. In Proceedings of the Symposium on Combinatorial Search (SoCS), 2020.

Abstract: Conflict-Based Search (CBS) is a leading algorithm for optimal Multi-Agent Path Finding (MAPF) which features strong performance. In CBS, one conflict in a high-level node is resolved to generate two child nodes, until a node with no conflicts is found. Choosing the right conflict to resolve can greatly speed up the search. It is currently recommended to resolve cardinal conflicts first; resolving them yields two child nodes with a higher cost than the cost of their parent. However, since the recent addition of high-level heuristics to CBS, when resolving cardinal conflicts, the h-value of high-level child nodes often decreases by the same amount as their cost increases by. This diminishes the effectiveness of the cardinal conflicts distinction. We propose an expanded categorization of conflicts into f-cardinal, g-cardinal, and non-cardinal. f-cardinal conflicts should be resolved first. Resolving f-cardinal conflicts generates child nodes with an increased f-value relative to their parent. We propose two methods for identifying f-cardinal conflicts. Finally, we demonstrate on standard benchmarks that choosing conflicts according to this expanded categorization increases the effectiveness of modern CBS.

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(last updated in 2020)