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Algorithms For Dummies by Luca Massaron, John Paul Mueller

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Chapter 20

Considering Heuristics

IN THIS CHAPTER

check Understanding when heuristics are useful to algorithms

check Discovering how pathfinding can be difficult for a robot

check Getting a fast start using the Best-first search

check Improving on Dijkstra’s algorithm and taking the best heuristic route using A*

As a concluding topic, this chapter completes the overview of heuristics started in Chapter 18 that describes heuristics as an effective means of using a local search to navigate neighboring solutions. Chapter 18 defines heuristics as educated guesses about a solution — that is, they are sets of rules of thumb pointing to the desired outcome, thus helping algorithms take the right steps toward it; however, heuristics alone can’t tell you exactly how to reach the solution.

There are shades of heuristics, just as there can be shades to the truth. Heuristics touch the fringes of algorithm development today. The AI revolution builds on the algorithms presented so far in the book that order, arrange, search, and manipulate data inputs. At the top of the hierarchy are heuristic algorithms that power optimization, ...

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