J. Han, T. Uras and S. Koenig. Toward a String-Pulling Approach to Path Smoothing on Grid Graphs. In Symposium on Combinatorial Search (SoCS), pages 106-110, 2020.

Abstract: Paths found on grid graphs are often unrealistic looking in the continuous environment that the grid graph represents and often need to be smoothed after a search. The well-known algorithm for path smoothing is greedy in nature and does not necessarily eliminate all heading changes in freespace. We present preliminary research toward a new path-smoothing algorithm based on 'string pulling' and show experimentally that it consistently finds shorter paths than the greedy path-smoothing algorithm and produces paths with no heading changes in freespace. Comment: After we published the paper, a student in our group answered the open question in the paper whether the string-pulling approach is optimal. This technical report shows that it is not. He also found an optimal approach published in S. Bespamyatnikh, Computing Homotopic Shortest Paths in the Plane, J. Algorithms, 49(2), 284-303.

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