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Sam Ade Jacobs, Nicholas Stradford, Cesar Rodriguez, Shawna Thomas, Nancy M. Amato, "A Scalable Distributed RRT for Motion Planning," In Proc. IEEE Int. Conf. Robot. Autom. (ICRA), pp. 5088-5095, Karlsruhe, Germany, May 2013.
Proceedings(ps, pdf, abstract)

Rapidly-exploring Random Tree (RRT), like other sampling-based motion planning methods, has been very successful in solving motion planning problems. Even so, sampling-based planners cannot solve all problems of interest efficiently, so attention is increasingly turning to parallelizing them. However, one challenge in parallelizing RRT is the global computation and communication overhead of nearest neighbor search, a key operation in RRTs. This is a critical issue as it limits the scalability of previous algorithms. We present two parallel algorithms to address this problem. The first algorithm extends existing work by introducing a parameter that adjusts how much local computation is done before a global update. The second algorithm radially subdivides the configuration space into regions, constructs a portion of the tree in each region in parallel, and connects the subtrees, removing cycles if they exist. By subdividing the space, we increase computation locality enabling a scalable result. We show that our approaches are scalable. We present results demonstrating almost linear scaling to hundreds of processors on a Linux cluster and a Cray XE6 machine.