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Re: [hackers-il] Approach for attacking NP-complete problems?

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  • Ofir Carny
    If I understand correctly, you describe NP, not NP-complete. As to the methodology, if a problem is indeed NP-complete, it would only work for specific cases
    Message 1 of 7 , Aug 28, 2005
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      If I understand correctly, you describe NP, not NP-complete. As to the methodology, if a problem is indeed NP-complete, it would only work for specific cases or in approximation, which will not provide anything new to computer science.

      On 8/25/05, Omer Zak <omerz@...> wrote:
      A problem is NP-complete because it can be represented as a recipe for
      generating several positions and scoring each of them, such that the
      recipe for scoring a position has no relationship to the recipe which
      generates the position.

      The "no-relationship" assumption is one, which might be amenable to
      attack in some cases.  If a mathematical method can be found to force a
      relationship between the position generator and the scoring function,
      then the problem is simplified from being NP-complete.

      For example, in the travelling salesman's problem, a position is
      represented as an ordered list of the cities which he visits.
      The score is the length of the road which he has to travel to visit all
      the cities.

      Would the following plan of attack on a NP-complete problem be fruitful
      for solving at least some of the NP-complete problems?

      Let's use the travelling salesman's problem as an example.
      Starting from a given ordered list of N cities, compute its score.

      Now, form N(N-1)/2 lists, each formed by swapping two different cities
      in the original list.  Compute the score for eah of the modified lists.

      The range of possible scores around the score of the original list is a
      subset of the range of possible scores over all N! lists.  The question
      is whether it is possible to establish upper and lower bounds on the
      range of scores of the chosen list and its N(N-1)/2 variants, which are
      significantly restricted relative to the bounds of the range of scores
      over all N! lists.  And if yes, how helpful would those bounds be at
      finding the list yielding the maximum score?
                                                     --- Omer
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