Efficient Search with an Ensemble of Heuristics / 784
Mike Phillips, Venkatraman Narayanan, Sandip Aine, Maxim Likhachev
Recently, a number of papers have shown that for many domains, using multiple heuristics in independent searches performs better than combining them into a single heuristic. Furthermore, using a large number of “weak” heuristics could potentially eliminate the need for the careful design of a few. The standard approach to distribute computation in these multi-heuristic searches is to rotate through the heuristics in a round-robin fashion. However, this strategy can be inefficient especially in the case when only a few of the heuristics are leading to progress. In this paper, we present two principled methods to adaptively distribute computation time among the different searches of the Multi- Heuristic A* algorithm. The first method, Meta-A*, constructs and searches a meta-graph, which represents the problem of finding the best heuristic as the problem of minimizing the total number of expansions. The second treats the scheduling of searches with different heuristics as a multi-armed bandit problem. It applies Dynamic Thompson Sampling (DTS) to keep track of what searches are making progress the most and continuously re-computes the schedule of searches based on this information. We provide a theoretical analysis and compare our new strategies with the round-robin method on a 12-DOF full-body motion planning problem and on sliding tile puzzle problems. In these experiments, we used up to 20 heuristics and observed a several times speedup without loss in solution quality.