[an error occurred while processing this directive]
Traveling Salesperson Problem Programming Assignment

Given N points in the plane, the goal of a traveling salesperson is to visit all of them (and arrive back home) while keeping the total distance traveled as short as possible. Implement two greedy heuristics to find good (but not optimal) solutions to the traveling salesperson problem (TSP).

          1000 points in the plane                          optimal tour (we think) - 15476.51924889754
1,000 points optimal tour

Perspective. The importance of the TSP does not arise from an overwhelming demand of salespeople to minimize their travel distance, but rather from a wealth of other applications such as vehicle routing, circuit board drilling, VLSI design, robot control, X-ray crystallography, machine scheduling, and computational biology.

Greedy heuristics. The traveling salesperson problem is a notoriously difficult combinatorial optimization problem, In principle, one can enumerate all possible tours and pick the shortest one; in practice, the number of tours is so staggeringly large (roughly N factorial) that this approach is useless. For large N, no one knows an efficient method that can find the shortest possible tour for any given set of points. However, many methods have been studied that seem to work well in practice, even though they are not guaranteed to produce the best possible tour. Such methods are called heuristics. Your main task is to implement the nearest neighbor and smallest increase insertion heuristics for building a tour incrementally. Start with a one-point tour (from the first point back to itself), and iterate the following process until there are no points left.

Point data type. Point.java represents a point in the plane, as described by the following API:

public class Point (2D point data type)
       Point(double x, double y)    // create the point (x, y)
String toString()                   // return string representation
  void draw()                       // draw point using standard draw
  void drawTo(Point that)           // draw line segment between the two points
double distanceTo(Point that)       // return Euclidean distance between the two points
Each Point object can return a string representation of itself, draw itself to standard draw, draw a line segment from itself to another point using standard draw, and calculate the Euclidean distance between itself and another point.

Tour data type. Your task is to create a Tour data type that represents the sequence of points visited in a TSP tour. Represent the tour as a circular linked list of nodes, one for each point. Node.java represents one of these nodes, and contains a Point and a reference to the next Node in the tour:

public class Node {
    public Point p;
    public Node next;
Your Tour data type must implement the following API:
public class Tour
       Tour()                                   // create an empty tour
       Tour(Point a, Point b, Point c, Point d) // create a 4 point tour a->b->c->d->a
  void show()                                   // print the tour to standard output
  void draw()                                   // draw the tour to standard draw
   int size()                                   // number of points on tour
double distance()                               // return the total distance of the tour
  void insertNearest(Point p)                   // insert p using nearest neighbor heuristic
  void insertSmallest(Point p)                  // insert p using smallest increase heuristic
Each Tour object should be able to print its constituent points to standard output, draw its points to standard draw, count its number of points, compute its total distance, and insert a new point using either of the two heuristics. The first constructor creates an empty tour; the second constructor creates a 4-point tour and is intended to assist with debugging.

Input and testing. The input format will begin with two integers w and h, followed by pairs of x- and y-coordinates. All x-coordinates will be real numbers between 0 and w; all y-coordinates will be real numbers between 0 and h. Many test data files are available. As an example, tsp1000.txt contains the following data:

% more tsp1000.txt
775 768
185.0411 457.8824
247.5023 299.4322
701.3532 369.7156
563.2718 442.3282
144.5569 576.4812
535.9311 478.4692
383.8523 458.4757
329.9402 740.9576
254.9820 302.2548
After implementing Tour.java, use the client program NearestInsertion.java to read in the points from standard input, run the nearest neighbor heuristic; print the resulting tour, its distance, and its number of points to standard output; and draw the resulting tour to standard draw. SmallestInsertion.java is analogous but runs the smallest insertion heuristic.

% java NearestInsertion < tsp1000.txt
Tour distance = 27868.7106
Number of points = 1000
(185.0411, 457.8824)
(198.3921, 464.6812)
(195.8296, 456.6559)
(216.8989, 455.126)
(213.3513, 468.0186)
(241.4387, 467.413)
(259.0682, 473.7961)
(221.5852, 442.8863)
(264.57, 410.328)
% java SmallestInsertion < tsp1000.txt
Tour distance = 17265.6282
Number of points = 1000
(185.0411, 457.8824)
(195.8296, 456.6559)
(193.0671, 450.2405)
(200.7237, 426.3461)
(200.5698, 422.6481)
(217.4682, 434.3839)
(223.1549, 439.8027)
(221.5852, 442.8863)
(186.8032, 449.9557)
1000 points nearest 1000 points smallest

Analysis.  Estimate the running time of your program as a function of the number of points N. Using TSPTimer.java, run the two heuristics for N = 1,000, and repeatedly double N until the execution time exceeds 100 seconds.

Checklist.   Don't forget to read the checklist.

Submission.   Submit Tour.java and your readme_tsp.txt file, and answer the questions. You may also submit an ExtraCredit.zip file containing your extra credit implementation and any additional files it requires. Like the NBody extra credit, this must be a zip archive (not any other compression format), even if it only contains one .java file. Our grading scripts will not work properly with any other type of submission, and you will not receive extra credit.

Contest and extra credit. Implement a better heuristic. For example, observe that any tour with paths that cross can be transformed into a shorter one with no crossing paths: add that improvement to your program. Here are some other ideas. If you are shooting for an A or A+, this is a good opportunity to impress us. However, be warned, this is a difficult extra credit. Answer the relevant questions in the readme_tsp.txt file.

This assignment was developed by Bob Sedgewick and Kevin Wayne.
Copyright © 2000 Robert Sedgewick