Disjoint pattern database heuristics Academic Article uri icon


  • We describe a new technique for designing more accurate admissible heuristic evaluation functions, based on pattern databases [J. Culberson, J. Schaeffer, Comput. Intelligence 14 (3) (1998) 318–334]. While many heuristics, such as Manhattan distance, compute the cost of solving individual subgoals independently, pattern databases consider the cost of solving multiple subgoals simultaneously. Existing work on pattern databases allows combining values from different pattern databases by taking their maximum. If the subgoals can be divided into disjoint subsets so that each operator only affects subgoals in one subset, then we can add the pattern-database values for each subset, resulting in a more accurate admissible heuristic function. We used this technique to improve performance on the Fifteen Puzzle by a factor of over 2000, and to find optimal solutions to 50 random instances of the Twenty-Four Puzzle.

publication date

  • January 1, 2002