I am using the module
networkx to operate on graphs made from
I wanted to compare the shortest path algorithm to find which one is faster, and I compared Dijkstra and A*.
The problem is : A* is most of the time faster than Dijkstra even though I didn't defined any heuristic function.
I understood that A* with $h=0$ was equivalent to Dijkstra, then why is it not the same time?
I am using the module
It depends how you implement Dijkstra. The usual description of Dijkstra adds every vertex of the graph to the queue at the start, which is rather inefficient. A* without a heuristic is often called "uniform cost search" (UCS) and the way it's described, you only add vertices to the queue when you discover them.
This means that, especially in sparse graphs (such as road maps, which are almost planar), UCS has a much lower memory footprint, which can make it considerably faster. Also, the various operations on the queue are much faster, since the queue is typically much shorter.
There's more information in Ariel Felner's paper Dijkstra's algorithm versus uniform cost search or a case against Dijkstra's algorithm (Proceedings of 4th International Symposium on Combinatorial Search, SoCS-2011, AAAI, 2011).
By the way, straight-line distance is probably a very good heuristic for A* in your situation.
The best way to answer this is to use a profiler, but since I don't have your test cases I've looked around in the code and I'm fairly confident that it's due to differences in the way they produce the paths.
The networkx A* implementation uses the standard technique of building a predecessor map and chaining backwards down it when the destination is reached. The Dijkstra implementation, on the other hand, produces full lists as it searches. It's wasting a lot of time copying lists to append an element to the end. This is partly a problem of using an inefficient return type, and partly a problem of failing to take advantage of special cases (specifically, using a multi-source multi-destination search to implement single-source single-destination), trading simplicity and non-duplication of code against performance.