An Analysis of Several Heuristics for the Traveling Salesman Problem

Daniel J. Rosenkrantz, Richard E. Stearns, Philip M. Lewis, II
1977 SIAM journal on computing (Print)  
Several polynomial time algorithms finding "good," but not necessarily optimal, tours for the traveling salesman problem are considered. We measure the closeness of a tour by the ratio of the obtained tour length to the minimal tour length. For the nearest neighbor method, we show the ratio is bounded above by a logarithmic function of the number of nodes. We also provide a logarithmic lower bound on the worst case. A class of approximation methods we call insertion methods are studied, and
more » ... e are also shown to have a logarithmic upper bound. For two specific insertion methods, which we call nearest insertion and cheapest insertion, the ratio is shown to have a constant upper bound of 2, and examples are provided that come arbitrarily close to this upper bound. It is also shown that for any n ≥ 8, there are traveling salesman problems with n nodes having tours which cannot be improved by making n/4 edge changes, but for which the ratio is 2(1 − 1/n).
doi:10.1137/0206041 fatcat:qboogsamejbwheikcy5bxupatq