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Purpose In this project, you will implement and analyse a heuristic search.
1 The χ-Puzzle
In this assignment you will implement and analyse a variety of search algorithms to solve the χ-Puzzle.
1.1 Rules of the Puzzle
The χ-Puzzle is a type of sliding-puzzle played on a wrapping board. The rules of the χ-Puzzle are the following:
1. The puzzle is an 2 × 4 board with 8 tiles (7 numbered and 1 empty).
2. Regular moves: Regular horizontal and vertical moves of sliding-puzzles are allowed and have a cost of 1.
3. Wrapping moves: If the empty tile is at a corner position, then the numbered tile at the other end of the
same row can slide into it. These moves are more expensive than regular moves, and have a cost of 2.
4. Diagonal moves: If the empty tile is at a corner position, then the numbered tile diagonally adjacent to it
inside the board, as well as the numbered tile in the opposed corner can be moved into it. These moves
are more expensive than regular moves, and have a cost of 3.
5. The goal of the puzzle is to reach either one of the 2 goals below with the lowest cost.
1 2 3 4 1 3 5 7
5 6 7 0 2 4 6 0
1 COMP 472
1.2 Examples
Here are a few examples, to better understand the rules of the puzzle.
Example 1 Assume that the initial board is: 4 2 3 1
5 6 7 0
Then there are 5 possible moves:
1-2: regular moves – the 1 can move down into the 0 (with a cost of 1 – see rule #2 above) and the 7 can move
right into the 0 (with a cost of 1 – see rule #2 above);
3: wrapping move – the 5 can move into the 0 (with a cost of 2 – rule #3 above).
4-5: diagonal moves – the 3 can move diagonally into the 0 (with a cost of 3 – see rule #4 above) and the 4 can
can move diagonally into the 0 (with a cost of 3 – see rule #4 above);
.
These would lead to the following successor nodes:
4 2 3 0 4 2 3 1 4 2 3 1 4 2 0 1 0 2 3 1
5 6 7 1 5 6 0 7 0 6 7 5 5 6 7 3 5 6 7 4
Example 2 Assume that the initial board is 1 2 3 4
5 6 0 7
, then there are 3 possible moves: (3, 6, 7).
Example 3 Assume that the initial board is 1 0 3 4
5 6 2 7
, then there are 3 possible moves: (6, 1, 3).
2 COMP 472
2 Your Task
Implement a solution for the χ-board using the following 3 search algorithms:
1. Uniform cost (UCS)
2. Greedy Best First (GBFS)
3. Algorithm A?
(A?
)
For GBFS and A?
, you must develop and experiment with 2 different heuristics h1 and h2. h1 and h2 should
both be used with GBFS and with A?
.
For the demo (see Section 4.1) you will run your code with the following naive heuristic, h0.
h0(n) =



0, if n =

x1 x2 x3 x4
x5 x6 x7 0

,regardless of the values of x1, x2, x3, x3, x4, x5, x6, x7
1, otherwise
The 2 heuristics that you developed (h1 and h2) cannot be equal to h0.
2.1 Programming Environment
To program the project, you must use Python 3.8. In addition, you must use GitHub (make sure your project is
private while developing).
2.2 The Input
Your code should be able to receive the path of an input file that contains initial puzzles. The input file will
contain a sequence of lines, containing the values of the initial puzzle where each tile will be represented by a
unique integer (0 to 7), where the zero will denote the empty tile. For example, the input file could contain:
1 0 3 7 5 2 6 4 puzzle #0
0 3 7 5 2 6 4 1 puzzle #1
1 0 3 7 5 2 6 4 puzzle #2
where puzzle #0 represents 1 0 3 7
5 2 6 4
There is no need to check the validity of the input file; you can assume that it will be correct.
2.3 Output
For each input puzzle and each search algorithm, your program should generate 2 output files: one for the solution path, and one for the search path. This means that for each line of the input file (see Section 2.2), your
program should generate 10 text files:
Solution files Search files
# ucs solution.txt # ucs search.txt
# gbfs-h1 solution.txt # gbfs-h1 search.txt
# gbfs-h2 solution.txt # gbfs-h2 search.txt
# astar-h1 solution.txt # astar-h1 search.txt
# astar-h2 solution.txt # astar-h2 search.txt
3 COMP 472
where # is the puzzle number starting at zero.
For example, for puzzle #0 in of the input file in Section 2.2, you should generate:
Solution files Search files
0 ucs solution.txt 0 ucs search.txt
0 gbfs-h1 solution.txt 0 gbfs-h1 search.txt
0 gbfs-h2 solution.txt 0 gbfs-h2 search.txt
0 astar-h1 solution.txt 0 astar-h1 search.txt
0 astar-h2 solution.txt 0 astar-h2 search.txt
2.3.1 Solution Files
Each solution file will contain the final solution found by the algorithm, or the string no solution. If a solution
is found, the format of the file should be:
1. on line 1: 0 0 (two zero’s) followed by the initial configuration (each tile separated by a space)
2. for each subsequent line: the token to move, a space, the cost of the move, a space, the new configuration
of the board (each tile separated by a space)
3. the final line should contain the cost of the entire solution path, a space, then the execution time in seconds.
For example:
0 0 4 2 3 1 5 6 7 0 0, 0, then the initial puzzle
1 1 4 2 3 0 5 6 7 1 move tile 1 with a cost of 1, which will lead to the new configuration
. . . . . .
56 1.2 cost of the solution path and execution time
If your program cannot find a solution after 60 seconds, then it should output: no solution in both the
solution and the search files.
2.3.2 Search Files
Each search file will contain the search path (the list of nodes that have been searched) by the algorithm. The
search files should contain 1 line for each node searched. Each line should contain the f(n), g(n) and h(n) values
of the node separated by a space, followed by the configuration of the puzzle. For example:
15 10 5 4 2 3 1 5 6 7 0 f(n) = 15, g(n) = 10, h(n) = 5, state = 4 2 3 1 5 6 7 0
9 3 6 4 2 3 0 5 6 7 1 f(n) = 9, g(n) = 3, h(n) = 6, state = 4 2 3 0 5 6 7 1
If the value of f(n), g(n) or h(n) are irrelevant for a specific search algorithm, just display its value as zero (0).
2.4 Analysis
Once your code is running, you will need to analyse and compare the performance of the algorithms and the
heuristics. Generate a file with 50 random puzzles, then use this file as input to your 5 algorithms and compile
the following data for each algorithm:
1. average & total length of the solution and search paths,
2. average & total number of no solution,
3. average & total cost and execution time,
4. optimality of the solution path.
4 COMP 472
Prepare a few slides explaining your heuristics and presenting and analysing the above data. You will present
these slides at the demo (see Section 4.1.1). Your analysis should compare the data above across search algorithms
and across heuristics.
2.5 Scaling Up
Once your analysis is done (see Section sec:analysis), take your best-performing algorithm and run it on a scaledup version of the puzzle. This means that instead of using a 2 × 4 puzzle, increase the dimensions of the puzzle
gradually and perform tests with random puzzles to see how the size of the puzzle influences the performance of
your search. You can remove the 60-second time-out for this experiment. Note that on puzzles with more than
2 rows, the wrapping moves (applicable when the empty tile is at a corner position) allows the numbered tile at
the other end of the same row as the empty tile to slide into it – but also allows the numbered tile at the other
end of the same column as the empty tile to slide into it.
Prepare 1 or 2 slides presenting your analysis of the scaled-up puzzle, to present at the demo (see Section 4.1.1).
3 Competition (Just for fun)
Just for the fun of it, we will organize a competition to compare the solutions found by different teams with the
same set of input puzzles. This competition will not count for points, we are just doing this for fun (and for the
thrill of having your team publicly acknowledged on the Moodle page as the winner of the competition!).
For the competition, we will give all teams a file with random puzzles, and teams will be ranked based on
the total cost of the solutions and execution time. More details on the competition will be posted on Moodle.
4 Deliverables
The submission of the project will consist of 2 deliverables: the code and a demo.
4.1 The Demos
You will have to demo your code to the TAs. Regardless of the demo time, you will demo the program that
was uploaded as the official submission on or before the due date. The schedule of the demos will be posted on
Moodle. The demos will consist in 2 parts: a small presentation of your analysis and a Q/A.
4.1.1 Presentation of your analysis
Prepare a few slides for a 5 minute presentation explaining your heuristics, your analysis and your scaled-up
experiment (see Sections 2.4 and 2.5).
4.1.2 Q/A
No special preparation is necessary for the Q/A part of the demo. Your TA will give you a small input file of
puzzles (the 2 version) and you will run all 5 algorithms with h0. Your will generate the corresponding output
files and upload them on EAS during the demo.
In addition, your TA will ask each student questions on the code/assignment, and the student will be required
to answer the TA satisfactorily. Hence every member of team is expected to attend the demo. Your individual
grade will be a function of your individual Q/A (see Section 5).
5 Evaluation Scheme
Students in teams can be assigned different grades based on their individual contribution to the proj
1. a peer-evaluation done after the deadline.
2. the contribution of each student as indicated on GitHub.
3. the Q/A of each student during the demo.
The team grade will be based on:
Code functionality, correctness and format of the output files, design, programming style, . . .
60%
Heuristics – h1 and h2 quality, originality, usability for A?
. . . 10%
Demo – QA clear answers to questions, knowledge of the program, . . . 10%
Demo – Presentation clarity and conciseness, depth of the analysis, presentation
skills, time-management . . .
20%
Total 100%
6 Submission
If you work in a team, identify one member as the team leader. The only additional responsibility of the
team leader is to upload all required files from her/his account and book the demo on the Moodle scheduler. If
you work individually, by definition, you are the team leader of your one-person team.
6.1 Submission Schedule
Each deliverable is due on the date indicated below.
Deliverable Due Date Upload as
Code + Slides of presentation November 16, 2020 Assignment 2
6.2 Submission Checklist
on GitHub:
In your GitHub project, include a README.md file that contains on its first line the URL of your GitHub
repository, as well as specific and complete instructions on how to run your program.
November 19, make your GitHub repository public.
on EAS:
Create a PDF of your slides, and name your slides 472 Slides2 ID1 ID2 ID3.pdf where ID1 is the ID of
the team leader.
Create one zip file containing all your code, your file of 50 random puzzles, the corresponding output files
and the README.md file. Name this zip file 472 Code2 ID1 ID2 ID3.zip where ID1 is the ID of the team
leader.
Zip 472 Slides2 ID1 ID2 ID3.pdf and 472 Code2 ID1 ID2 ID3.pdf and name the resulting zip file:
472 Assignment2 ID1 ID2 ID3.zip where ID1 is the ID of the team leader.
Have the team leader upload the zip file at: https://fis.encs.concordia.ca/eas/ as Assignment 2.
Have fun!
6 COMP 472 Assignment 2