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7 things you didn’t know Google Search could do until now

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

Google Search is much more powerful than most people know. Google is way more powerful than most people realize. Regular searches are helpful, but they don't even scratch the surface of Google's abilities. Sometimes, your basic search inquiries may not be enough or you need a tip to get the best results. Fair warning: You can't mention Google without also mentioning tracking.


Max Is More than Min: Solving Maximization Problems with Heuristic Search

AAAI Conferences

Most work in heuristic search considers problems where a low cost solution is preferred (MIN problems). In this paper, we investigate the complementary setting where a solution of high reward is preferred (MAX problems). Example MAX problems include finding a longest simple path in a graph, maximal coverage, and various constraint optimization problems. We examine several popular search algorithms for MIN problems and discover the curious ways in which they misbehave on MAX problems. We propose modifications that preserve the original intentions behind the algorithms but allow them to solve MAX problems, and compare them theoretically and empirically. Interesting results include the failure of bidirectional search and close relationships between Dijkstra's algorithm, weighted A*, and depth-first search.


Time-Bounded Best-First Search for Reversible and Non-reversible Search Graphs

Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research

Time-Bounded A* is a real-time, single-agent, deterministic search algorithm that expands states of a graph in the same order as A* does, but that unlike A* interleaves search and action execution. Known to outperform state-of-the-art real-time search algorithms based on Korf's Learning Real-Time A* (LRTA*) in some benchmarks, it has not been studied in detail and is sometimes not considered as a ``true'' real-time search algorithm since it fails in non-reversible problems even it the goal is still reachable from the current state. In this paper we propose and study Time-Bounded Best-First Search (TB(BFS)) a straightforward generalization of the time-bounded approach to any best-first search algorithm. Furthermore, we propose Restarting Time-Bounded Weighted A* (TB_R(WA*)), an algorithm that deals more adequately with non-reversible search graphs, eliminating ``backtracking moves'' and incorporating search restarts and heuristic learning. In non-reversible problems we prove that TB(BFS) terminates and we deduce cost bounds for the solutions returned by Time-Bounded Weighted A* (TB(WA*)), an instance of TB(BFS). Furthermore, we prove TB_R(WA*), under reasonable conditions, terminates. We evaluate TB(WA) in both grid pathfinding and the 15-puzzle. In addition, we evaluate TB_R(WA*) on the racetrack problem. We compare our algorithms to LSS-LRTWA*, a variant of LRTA* that can exploit lookahead search and a weighted heuristic. A general observation is that the performance of both TB(WA*) and TB_R(WA*) improves as the weight parameter is increased. In addition, our time-bounded algorithms almost always outperform LSS-LRTWA* by a significant margin.


Avoiding and Escaping Depressions in Real-Time Heuristic Search

Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research

Heuristics used for solving hard real-time search problems have regions with depressions. Such regions are bounded areas of the search space in which the heuristic function is inaccurate compared to the actual cost to reach a solution. Early real-time search algorithms, like LRTA*, easily become trapped in those regions since the heuristic values of their states may need to be updated multiple times, which results in costly solutions. State-of-the-art real-time search algorithms, like LSS-LRTA* or LRTA*(k), improve LRTA*'s mechanism to update the heuristic, resulting in improved performance. Those algorithms, however, do not guide search towards avoiding depressed regions.


Towards modular and programmable architecture search

Neural Information Processing Systems

Neural architecture search methods are able to find high performance deep learning architectures with minimal effort from an expert. However, current systems focus on specific use-cases (e.g. Hyperparameter optimization systems are general-purpose but lack the constructs needed for easy application to architecture search. In this work, we propose a formal language for encoding search spaces over general computational graphs. The language constructs allow us to write modular, composable, and reusable search space encodings and to reason about search space design.