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An Engineering Approach to the Traveling Salesman Problem


  • S. M. Roberts

    (IBM Federal Systems Division, Houston)

  • Benito Flores

    (University of Houston)


An engineering approach to the traveling salesman problem is a method which is intuitively "reasonable" to the non-mathematician. It consists of a sequence of operations which (1) develops good starting circuits, (2) improves these circuits, (3) extracts sufficient information from the improved circuits to determine pairs or chains of cities likely to appear in the conjectured global minimum cost circuit, (4) with certain cities paired off, develops the graph of the network. The graph program generates all the circuits from the smallest to the largest cost. The method has been applied successfully to the 20, 48, and 57 city traveling salesman problems.

Suggested Citation

  • S. M. Roberts & Benito Flores, 1966. "An Engineering Approach to the Traveling Salesman Problem," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 13(3), pages 269-288, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:13:y:1966:i:3:p:269-288

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. M. E. Salveson, 1956. "A Problem in Optimal Machine Loading," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 2(3), pages 232-260, April.
    2. M. Beckman & R. Muth, 1956. "An Inventory Policy for a Case of Lagged Delivery," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 2(2), pages 145-155, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lawrence Hubert & Frank Baker, 1978. "Applications of combinatorial programming to data analysis: The traveling salesman and related problems," Psychometrika, Springer;The Psychometric Society, vol. 43(1), pages 81-91, March.

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