Traveling Salesman Problem

What Does Traveling Salesman Problem Mean?

The traveling salesman problem (TSP) is a popular mathematics problem that asks for the most efficient trajectory possible given a set of points and distances that must all be visited.


In computer science, the problem can be applied to the most efficient route for data to travel between various nodes.

Techopedia Explains Traveling Salesman Problem

In terms of input, the problem takes a list of physical locations or system nodes, along with distance information. Algorithms and equations work on the process of identifying the most efficient paths possible between the locations. Computer programs can do this through the process of elimination or through a process called heuristics that provides probability outcomes for this type of equation.

In the early days of computers, the traveling salesman problem was one example of the many tasks that computers could do more efficiently than humans. A simple computer program written in almost any programming language can provide excellent and actual results for solving the traveling salesman problem with any reasonable amount of complexity.

In modern IT, the equation itself has applications in identifying network or hardware optimization methods. For example, in the vastly complex global Internet, the traveling salesman problem can be used to work out the most efficient trajectories for data packets being routed anywhere in the system. The same holds true for private networks.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…