Essential algorithms for GCSE and A Level Computer Science
Routines that find satisfactory or optimum paths between vertices / nodes on a graph.
What is A* pathfinding?
The A* pathfinding algorithm is a development of Dijkstra’s shortest path. Unlike Dijkstra’s algorithm, A* finds the shortest path between two vertices on a weighted graph using heuristics. It performs better than Dijkstra’s algorithm because not every vertex is considered. Instead, only the most optimal path is followed to the goal.
Known as a best-first search algorithm, with A* pathfinding a heuristic estimates the cost of the path between the next vertex and the goal. It then follows this path. It is important that the heuristic does not over-estimate the cost, thereby choosing an incorrect vertex to move to next. The vertices being considered are referred to as “the fringe”.
The usefulness of the A* algorithm is determined by the suitability of the heuristic.
What extra is in the book?
This algorithm / data structure has its own dedicated chapter in the book, which includes:
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