Search techniques

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Purpose of searching: Find path to desired Goal State from all future states possible.

Uninformed search[edit]

Uninformed search, also called blind search or unguided search, is a class of general purpose search algorithms that operate in a brute-force way. The term 'uninformed'means that they have no additional information about states beyond that provides in the problem definition.These algorithms can be applied to a variety of search problems, since they don't take into account the target problem.

Breadth-first search[edit]

  • Each level (or depth) of the search tree is explored before expanding its nodes to search their children. Breadth- first search is a simple strategy in which the root node is expanded first, then all the successors of the root node are expanded next, then their successors and so on..
  • Uses a FIFO QUEUE
  • Advantage: Simple to implement
  • Disadvantage: Heavy memory requirements

Breadth-first-search2.png Breadth- first sear

Depth-first search[edit]

  • Drills deep into the hierarchy, exploring one lineage until it reaches the child/leaf node with no successors (or it's goal, of course).
  • Advantage: Improves on the memory requirements by deleting entire line once explored.
  • Disadvantage: Potential to run into infinitely deep search path (non-complete)

File:Depth-first-search.png

Depth-limited search[edit]

  • Depth-first search with a limit on the depth.
  • Depth- first search always expands the deepest node in the current fringe of the search tree.
  • Mitigates infinite depth path of Depth-first search by cutting the tree on the limit depth.
  • Will fail to reach goal if goal resides deeper than depth limit .

Iterative deepening depth-first search[edit]

  • Performs iterations of depth-limited searches with increasing depth limits.
  • Advantage: Unlike normal depth-first search and depth-limited search, it is complete. It also does this without greatly increasing the expected runtime.

Bidirectional search[edit]

  • Searches from initial state to last state and also from the last state to initial state, stopping when the two searches meet at a node in between (or when found the goal state).
  • Advantage: 1.Time and memory requirements good, comparatively

2.Less time complexity.

  • Disadvantage: Not always feasible, or possible, to search backward through possible states.

Informed search[edit]

  • If information is available about the problem this could guide the search (for example in finding the shortest route in a map: information about distances between places on map).
  • Information is put in an evaluation function f(n) to be able to give a value to each state.
  • Sometimes a heuristic function h(n) is used to guess the value if the information isn't perfect.

(Greed) best-first search[edit]

  • Define f(n) to be the distance to the goal (Or a good guess to the goal h(n), then f(n)=h(n)).
  • Expand child with lowest f(n) value.
  • advantage:
  • Disadvantage: Does not always find the shortest path to the goal.

A* (A star) search[edit]

  • Define f(n) to be the distance to the current state plus the expected distance to the goal: f(n) = g(n) + h(n).
  • h(n) must be an admissible heuristic, ie it doesn't overestimate the distance to the goal.
  • Expand child with lowest f(n) value.
  • Advantage: Always finds most optimal solution.

Self Guided Projects on Search Techniques[edit]

  1. Uninformed Search Project - Make a program that can help Homer Simpson find his way around Springfield
  2. Simulated Annealing and Gradient Descent - Use simulated annealing to find the correct placement of baby lizards in a nursery so that they can't eat each other