Original Paper


, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 101-120

First online:

On The Approximability Of The Traveling Salesman Problem

  • Christos H. Papadimitriou*Affiliated withComputer Science Division, U.C. Berkeley Email author 
  • , Santosh Vempala†Affiliated withDepartment of Mathematics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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We show that the traveling salesman problem with triangle inequality cannot be approximated with a ratio better than \( \frac{{117}} {{116}} \) when the edge lengths are allowed to be asymmetric and \( \frac{{220}} {{219}} \) when the edge lengths are symmetric, unless P=NP. The best previous lower bounds were \( \frac{{2805}} {{2804}} \) and \( \frac{{3813}} {{3812}} \) respectively. The reduction is from Håstad’s maximum satisfiability of linear equations modulo 2, and is nonconstructive.

Mathematics Subject Classification (2000):

68Q17 05D40