Optimum outcomes: Can you solve the Traveling Salesman Problem?

Traveling Salesman

The Pitch

The Traveling Salesman Problem has been challenging mathematical minds for decades. Do you have what it takes to solve it?

Seeking the shortest route

Mona Lisa TSP

TSP Art web page

The iconic Mona Lisa still looks pretty good at TSP art.

One line of beauty

The Traveling Salesman Problem (TSP) has been a math challenge for ages: what's the shortest distance as the crow flies between a series of points.

TSP demonstrates mathematical principles of computational complexity theory and optimization. For decades, mathematicians have studied these concepts, leading to improved solution methods in many areas of optimization. Beyond being a fun game, concepts from the problem have been applied to various areas of science and art, ranging from genome sequencing and designing computer processors to arranging music and hunting for planets.

Click on one of the links below to create your own Traveling Salesman Problem.

Click here for a Google Maps version of TSP. You type in the city names you want to stop at and the program will show you the shortest route.

Click here for a program of randomized TSP sites that you can solve yourself. You determine how many points will be on the map and then toward the solution.

Feeling a little more artistic than competitive today? Here's a site that has turned TSP routes into art. You might recognize some of these samples.

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