Taken from Artificial Intelligence A Modern Approach :


Notice how a node doesn't gets added to the frontier twice in Graph-Search, And then take a look at this :

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Now obviously this is not true as in the following example :

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Bucharest will be added to the frontier first with path sibiu->fagaras->bucharest, while the second path which is more optimal will be omitted.

Am i missing something or is just a false claim?


1 Answer 1


A* isn't based on the GRAPH-SEARCH algorithm but on the UNIFORM-COST-SEARCH one:

function UNIFORM-COST-SEARCH(problem) returns a solution or failure
   node ← a node with STATE = problem.INITIAL-STATE, PATH-COST = 0
   frontier ← a priority queue ordered by PATH-COST,
              with node as the only element
   explored ← an empty set

   loop do
     if EMPTY?(frontier) then return failure

     node ← POP(frontier)  /* chooses the lowest-cost node in frontier */
     if problem.GOAL-TEST(node.STATE) then return SOLUTION(node)

     add node.STATE to explored
     for each action in problem.ACTIONS(node.STATE) do
         child ← CHILD-NODE(problem, node, action)
         if child.STATE is not in explored or frontier then
             frontier ← insert(child, frontier)
         else if child.STATE is in frontier with higher PATH-COST then
             replace that frontier node with child

Uniform cost search algorithm is identical to the general graph search algorithm (in your question) except:

  • for the use of a priority queue and
  • the addition of en extra check in case a shorter path to a frontier state is discovered.

A* is identical to UNIFORM-COST-SEARCH except that uses $g + h$ instead of $g$.

So assuming the following distances (straight-line distance to Bucharest) for the h heuristic function:

Sibiu          253     Fagaras 176
Rimnicu Vilcea 193     Pitesti 100
Bucharest        0

the second path will NOT be omitted. Stages in an A* search for Bucharest are (numbers show $f = g + h$):

(a) Sibiu 0 + 253 = 253
(b) Fagaras = 99 + 176 = 275, Rimnicu Vilcea = 80 + 193 = 273
(c) Pitesti = 177 + 100 = 277
(d) Bucharest (via Fagaras) = 310 + 0 = 310

A* search keeps going, choosing Pitesti for expansion:

(e) Bucharest (via Pitesti) = 278 + 0 = 278

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