Meta-agent conflict-based search for optimal multi-agent path finding

Guni Sharon, Roni Stern, Ariel Felner, Nathan Sturtevant

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

The task in the multi-agent path finding problem (MAPF) is to find paths for multiple agents, each with a different start and goal position, such that agents do not collide. It is possible to solve this problem optimally with algorithms that are based on the A* algorithm. Recently, we proposed an alternative algorithm called Conflict-Based Search (CBS) (Sharon et al. 2012), which was shown to outperform the A*-based algorithms in some cases. CBS is a two-level algorithm. At the high level, a search is performed on a tree based on conflicts between agents. At the low level, a search is performed only for a single agent at a time. While in some cases CBS is very efficient, in other cases it is worse than A*-based algorithms. This paper focuses on the latter case by generalizing CBS to Meta-Agent CBS (MA-CBS). The main idea is to couple groups of agents into meta-agents if the number of internal conflicts between them exceeds a given bound. MACBS acts as a framework that can run on top of any complete MAPF solver. We analyze our new approach and provide experimental results demonstrating that it outperforms basic CBS and other A*-based optimal solvers in many cases.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 5th Annual Symposium on Combinatorial Search, SoCS 2012
Pages97-104
Number of pages8
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2012
Event5th International Symposium on Combinatorial Search, SoCS 2012 - Niagara Falls, ON, Canada
Duration: 19 Jul 201221 Jul 2012

Publication series

NameProceedings of the 5th Annual Symposium on Combinatorial Search, SoCS 2012

Conference

Conference5th International Symposium on Combinatorial Search, SoCS 2012
Country/TerritoryCanada
CityNiagara Falls, ON
Period19/07/1221/07/12

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications

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