Explaining how path counting helps simulate natural navigation

Rhys Goldstein, an Autodesk Research colleague with whom I’ve had the great pleasure of collaborating on various projects, over the years, has written an excellent explainer article that has just been published in Towards Data Science. This is intended as a companion to our paper published in the Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research, something I talked about in this recent post.

Firstly, though, a quick shout-out to Zach Kron, who kindly allowed an image of one of his watercolours to be used in the article; one he created with the help of Dynamo and the Space Analysis package, which implements the path counting algorithm.

Short Path Blue Watercolor by Zach Kron

I won’t go into the specifics of how path counting works – Rhys’s article already does that extremely well – but I’ll summarise the problem and its solution, quickly: using traditional pathfinding algorithms such as A* or Dijkstra on a simple grid can lead to shortest paths being found that are “ugly”. They go from A to B with the same cost as…

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