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Understanding the Search Behaviour of Greedy Best-First Search

Last modified: 2017-06-05

#### Abstract

A classical result in optimal search shows that A* with an admissible and consistent heuristic expands every state whose f-value is below the optimal solution cost and no state whose f-value is above the optimal solution cost. For satisficing search algorithms, a similarly clear understanding is currently lacking. We examine the search behaviour of greedy best-first search (gbfs) in order to make progress towards such an understanding. We introduce the concept of high-water mark benches, which separate the search space into areas that are searched by a gbfs algorithm in sequence. High-water mark benches allow us to exactly determine the set of states that are not expanded under any gbfs tie-breaking strategy. For the remaining states, we show that some are expanded by all gbfs searches, while others are expanded only if certain conditions are met.

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