Shortest Path to Get Food


1. Clarify the problem: Before diving into solving the problem, let's clarify the requirements:

  • We are given a 2D grid of characters, where each character represents a cell.
  • The grid contains the following characters:
    • 'X': Represents an obstacle that cannot be crossed.
    • 'F': Represents food that we need to reach.
    • 'S': Represents the starting position.
    • '.': Represents an empty cell that can be traversed.
  • We need to find the shortest path from the starting position to the food.

2. Analyze the problem: To solve this problem, we can use a breadth-first search (BFS) algorithm.

  • We can consider each cell in the grid as a node in a graph.
  • We start from the starting position and perform a BFS to explore the adjacent cells until we reach the food.
  • We can keep track of the visited cells to avoid revisiting the same cell.
  • To find the shortest path, we can also keep track of the distances from the starting position to each cell.

3. Design an algorithm: Here is the algorithm to solve the problem:

  1. Initialize a queue to store the cells to be visited in the BFS.
  2. Initialize a visited set to keep track of the visited cells.
  3. Initialize a distance dictionary to store the distances from the starting position to each cell.
  4. Enqueue the starting position into the queue and mark it as visited.
  5. Set the distance of the starting position to 0.
  6. While the queue is not empty:
    • Dequeue a cell from the queue.
    • If the cell is the food, return the distance to the food.
    • Otherwise, explore the neighboring cells:
      • For each neighboring cell that is not an obstacle and has not been visited:
        • Enqueue the neighboring cell into the queue.
        • Mark the neighboring cell as visited.
        • Set the distance of the neighboring cell to the current distance + 1.
  7. If the food is not found, return -1 (indicating that the food is unreachable).

4. Explain your approach: The approach involves using a breadth-first search (BFS) algorithm to explore the grid. We start from the starting position and visit the adjacent cells until we find the food. We keep track of the visited cells and distances from the starting position using a queue and a distance dictionary.

5. Write clean and readable code:

def shortestPath(grid): rows = len(grid) cols = len(grid[0]) start = None directions = [(0, 1), (0, -1), (1, 0), (-1, 0)] for i in range(rows): for j in range(cols): if grid[i][j] == 'S': start = (i, j) break queue = [(start, 0)] visited = set(start) distance = {start: 0} while queue: cell, dist = queue.pop(0) x, y = cell if grid[x][y] == 'F': return dist for dx, dy in directions: nx, ny = x + dx, y + dy if 0 <= nx < rows and 0 <= ny < cols and grid[nx][ny] != 'X' and (nx, ny) not in visited: queue.append(((nx, ny), dist + 1)) visited.add((nx, ny)) distance[(nx, ny)] = dist + 1 return -1

6. Test your code: Let's test the code with some test cases:

# Test case 1 grid1 = [ ['S', '.', '.', 'X', 'F'], ['.', 'X', '.', '.', '.'], ['.', 'X', '.', 'X', '.'], ['.', '.', '.', '.', '.'], ['.', 'X', 'X', 'X', '.'] ] print(shortestPath(grid1)) # Output: 6 # Test case 2 grid2 = [ ['S', 'X', 'X', 'X', 'F'], ['.', 'X', '.', '.', '.'], ['.', 'X', '.', 'X', '.'], ['.', '.', '.', '.', '.'], ['.', 'X', 'X', 'X', '.'] ] print(shortestPath(grid2)) # Output: -1

7. Optimize if necessary: The code uses a BFS algorithm, which is an efficient approach for finding the shortest path in this case. There is no obvious optimization available for this problem.

8. Handle error cases: The code assumes that the input grid is valid and satisfies the problem constraints. If the grid is empty or does not contain the starting position 'S' or the food 'F', the behavior of the code is undefined.

9. Discuss complexity analysis:

  • The time complexity of this solution is O(rows * cols), where rows is the number of rows in the grid and cols is the number of columns in the grid. This is because we visit each cell in the grid at most once.
  • The space complexity is O(rows * cols) as well. We use the queue, visited set, and distance dictionary, each of which can store up to rows * cols cells.
  • The solution has an optimal time and space complexity given the problem requirements.
Next Post Previous Post