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traveling salesman problem

any mathematical problem that involves determination of the shortest path through several points.
1950-55; from the idea that a traveling salesman would face such a problem in making rounds within a territory Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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traveling salesman problem in Technology

US spelling of travelling salesman problem.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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Encyclopedia Article for traveling salesman problem

an optimization problem in graph theory in which the nodes (cities) of a graph are connected by directed edges (routes), where the weight of an edge indicates the distance between two cities. The problem is to find a path that visits each city once, returns to the starting city, and minimizes the distance traveled. The only known general solution algorithm that guarantees the shortest path requires a solution time that grows exponentially with the problem size (i.e., the number of cities). This is an example of an NP-complete problem (from nonpolynomial), for which no known efficient (i.e., polynomial time) algorithm exists.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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