Lazy CBS: Implicit Conflict-Based Search Using Lazy Clause Generation
Conflict-based Search (CBS) is a effective approach to optimal multi-agent path finding. However, performance of CBS approaches degrade rapidly in highly-contended graphs with many agents. One of the reasons this occurs is that CBS does not detect independent subproblems; i.e. it can re-solve the same conflicts between the same pairs of agents up to exponentially many times, each time along a different branch. Constraint programming approaches with nogood learning avoid this kind of duplication of effort by storing nogoods that record the reasons for conflicts. This can exponentially reduce search in constraint programming. In this work, we present Lazy CBS, a new approach to multi-agent pathfinding which replaces the high-level solver of CBS with a lazily constructed constraint programming model with nogoods. We use core-guided depth-first search to explore the space of conflicts and we detect along each branch reusable nogoods which help to quickly identify feasible solutions. Our experiments show that Lazy CBS can significantly improve on the state-of-the-art for optimal MAPF problems under the sumof-costs metric, especially in cases where there exists significant contention.