On the Optimal Efficiency of Cost-Algebraic A*
Edelkamp et al. (2005) proved that A*, given an admissible heuristic, is guaranteed to return an optimal solution in any cost algebra, not just in the traditional shortest path setting. In this paper, we investigate cost-algebraic A*’s optimal efficiency: in the cost-algebraic setting, under what conditions is A* guaranteed to expand the fewest possible states? In the traditional setting, this question was examined in detail by Dechter & Pearl (1985). They identified five different situations in which A* was optimally efficient. We show that three of them continue to hold in the cost-algebraic setting, but that one does not. We also show that one of them is false, it does not hold even in the traditional setting. We introduce an alternative that does hold in the cost-algebraic setting. Finally, we show that a well-known result due to Nilsson does not hold in the general cost-algebraic setting but does hold in a slightly less general setting.