# Path Finding Star Power 🤩

Recently, I had the pleasure of taking a course in Graph Theory from the lovely Professor Reuven Hodges at the University of Kansas. As a capstone of the course, I was tasked with an independent project that involved the following:

- Reading an academic paper.
- Writing a short summary of said paper.
- Implementing an algorithm from the paper.
- Giving a short talk in-class over the paper.

For my project, I used it as an excuse to finally get acquainted with the A* algorithm. A* is a heuristic algorithm for finding the minimum cost path between two vertices in a directed, weighted graph. Therefore, the paper I chose was "A Formal Basis for the Heuristic Determination of Minimum Cost Paths" by Hart, Nilsson, and Raphel which is the original paper that proposed and proved A*.

If you are interested:

- Read my report.
- Check out my implementation.
- Flick through the slide deck from my talk.

My implementation of A* is also capable of of producing animations of the algorithm being run *as* it finds the shortest path
using 3Blue1Brown's Manim library. For my talk, I rendered a basic example
using the cycle of six vertices with random weights and heuristic values as well as a more complex example.
For the latter, I am modeling a road trip from Lawrence, KS to Bartlesville, OK constrained to only use specific highways.
The edge weights use the driving distance between cities on Google Maps, and the heuristics
were calculated by measuring the distance between cities in miles using Google Earth Pro.