Article: Learning in Real-Time Search: A Unifying Framework

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Feb 14, 2006, 8:56:09 PM2/14/06
JAIR is pleased to announce the publication of the following article:

Bulitko, V. and Lee, G. (2006)
"Learning in Real-Time Search: A Unifying Framework",
Volume 25, pages 119-157.

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Real-time search methods are suited for tasks in which the agent is
interacting with an initially unknown environment in real time. In
such simultaneous planning and learning problems, the agent has to
select its actions in a limited amount of time, while sensing only a
local part of the environment centered at the agent's current
location. Real-time heuristic search agents select actions using a
limited lookahead search and evaluating the frontier states with a
heuristic function. Over repeated experiences, they refine heuristic
values of states to avoid infinite loops and to converge to better
solutions. The wide spread of such settings in autonomous software
and hardware agents has led to an explosion of real-time search
algorithms over the last two decades. Not only is a potential user
confronted with a hodgepodge of algorithms, but he also faces the
choice of control parameters they use. In this paper we address both
problems. The first contribution is an introduction of a simple
three-parameter framework (named LRTS) which extracts the core ideas
behind many existing algorithms. We then prove that LRTA*, epsilon-LRTA*,
SLA*, and gamma-Trap algorithms are special cases of our
framework. Thus, they are unified and extended with additional
features. Second, we prove completeness and convergence of any
algorithm covered by the LRTS framework. Third, we prove several
upper-bounds relating the control parameters and solution
quality. Finally, we analyze the influence of the three control
parameters empirically in the realistic scalable domains of real-time
navigation on initially unknown maps from a commercial role-playing
game as well as routing in ad hoc sensor networks.

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Steven Minton
JAIR Managing Editor

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