Lance Danzy
Melinda Katanbafnezhad
The “A Mazing Problem” is a classical experiment
from psychology where scientists carefully observe a
rat going through a maze. This experiment is
performed repeatedly until the rat goes through the
maze without going down a single dead end path. This
demonstrates the rat’s learning curve. The computer
program that does the same thing is not any smarter
than the rat on its first try through, but the computer
can remember the mistakes it made. The second time it
runs through the maze it should go all the way
through without going down dead ends. With a
computer’s memory, and the right algorithm going
through a maze is simple.
Using a recursive method every time a spot is
visited, the method checks all surrounding
spots for a path and marks what’s already been
visited. If it reads in a point that is not a wall or
marked as visited, it moves to that point. It will
continuously do this until it has reached a
mark indicating the end of the maze. If it
reaches a dead end, it does not mark the point.
public bool labelPath(int startRow, int startCol)
//from the starting location specified by the parameters to the finis
//is point in the maze boundaries
if (startRow < 0 || startRow >= rows || startCol < 0 || startCol >= cols)
return false;
if (theMaze[startRow, startCol] == 'F')
// we are at the end of the maze
return true;
// is point a valid path?
if (theMaze[startRow, startCol] == ' ')
// mark this path just in case it works from here
theMaze[startRow, startCol] = '-';
// find if there is a route past here
if (labelPath(startRow + 1, startCol) || labelPath(startRow - 1, startCol) || labelPath(startRow, startCol +
1) || labelPath(startRow, startCol - 1))
// this is a good path!
return true;
// this is not a good path - unmark it.
theMaze[startRow, startCol] = ' ';
return false;
Wall Follower
The best known rule for traversing mazes, also
known as the left hand rule or the right hand
rule. This method always keeps the wall on one
side of the navigator, by doing this the
navigator is guaranteed not to get lost and will
reach an exit if there is one.
Dead-end Filling
This method looks at the entire maze once,
finds all the dead-ends and then fills in the
path from each dead end until there is a
continuous path from start to finish.
Similar to how a GPS finds the shortest route to
a destination, our algorithm determines the
shortest path to the end of a maze, although a
GPS may not necessarily use this algorithm and
knows your location.
If you ever find yourself trapped inside of a
maze/labyrinth we recommend that you use a
wall following method to escape, not recursion.
Horowitz, E., Sahni, S., & Mehta, D. (1995). Fundamentals of Data
Structures in C++. New York: W. H. Freeman & Co.

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