Generate-and-test search algorithm is a very simple algorithm that guarantees to find a solution if done systematically and there exists a solution.
1.Generate a possible solution.
2.Test to see if this is the expected solution.
3.If the solution has been found quit else go to step 1.
Potential solutions that need to be generated vary depending on the kinds of problems. For some problems the possible solutions may be particular points in the problem space and for some problems, paths from the start state.
Generate-and-test, like depth-first search, requires that complete solutions be generated for testing. In its most systematic form, it is only an exhaustive search of the problem space. Solutions can also be generated randomly but solution is not guaranteed. This approach is what is known as British Museum algorithm: finding an object in the British Museum by wandering randomly.
While generating complete solutions and generating random solutions are the two extremes there exists another approach that lies in between. The approach is that the search process proceeds systematically but some paths that unlikely to lead the solution are not considered. This evaluation is performed by a heuristic function.
Depth-first search tree with backtracking can be used to implement systematic generate-and-test procedure. As per this procedure, if some intermediate states are likely to appear often in the tree, it would be better to modify that procedure to traverse a graph rather than a tree.
Generate-And-Test And Planning
Exhaustive generate-and-test is very useful for simple problems. But for complex problems even heuristic generate-and-test is not very effective technique. But this may be made effective by combining with other techniques in such a way that the space in which to search is restricted. An AI program DENDRAL, for example, uses plan-Generate-and-test technique. First, the planning process uses constraint-satisfaction techniques and creates lists of recommended and contraindicated substructures. Then the generate-and-test procedure uses the lists generated and required to explore only a limited set of structures. Constrained in this way, generate-and-test proved highly effective. A major weakness of planning is that it often produces inaccurate solutions as there is no feedback from the world. But if it is used to produce only pieces of solutions then lack of detailed accuracy becomes unimportant.
Breadth First Search