Probabilistic analysis of the Held and Karp lower bound for the Euclidean traveling salesman problem. (English) Zbl 0733.90072

Summary: We analyze probabilistically the classical Held-Karp lower bound derived from the 1-tree relaxation for the Euclidean traveling salesman problem (ETSP). We prove that, if n points are identically and independently distributed according to a distribution with bounded support and absolutely continuous part f(x)dx over the d-cube, the Held-Karp lower bound on these n points is almost surely asymptotic to \[ \beta_{HK}(d)n^{(d-1)/d}\int f(x)^{(d-1)/d}dx, \] where \(\beta_{HK}(d)\) is a constant independent of n. The result suggests a probabilistic explanation of the observation that the lower bound is very close to the length of the optimal tour in practice, since the ETSP is almost surely asymptotic to \[ \beta_{TSP}(d)n^{(d-1)/d}\int f(x)^{(d-1)/d}dx. \] The techniques we use exploit the polyhedral description of the Held-Karp lower bound and the theory of subadditive Euclidean functionals.


90C35 Programming involving graphs or networks
90C27 Combinatorial optimization
90C60 Abstract computational complexity for mathematical programming problems
90-08 Computational methods for problems pertaining to operations research and mathematical programming
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