Complete Anytime Beam Search

Weixiong Zhang

Beam search executes a search method, such as best-first search or depth-first search, but may abandon nonpromising search avenues in order to reduce complexity. Although it has existed for more than two decades and has been applied to many real-world problems, beam search still suffers from the drawback of possible termination with no solution or a solution of unsatisfactory quality. In this paper, we first propose a domain-independent heuristic for node pruning, and a method to reduce the possibility that beam search will fail. We then develop a complete beam search algorithm. The new algorithm can not only find an optimal solution, but can also reach better solutions sooner than its underlying search method. We apply complete beam search to the maximum boolean satisfiability and the symmetric and asymmetric Traveling Salesman Problems. Our experimental results show that the domain-independent pruning heuristic is effective and the new algorithm significantly improves the performance of its underlying search algorithm.

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