Human performance on the traveling salesman problem
Received: 14 February 1995 Accepted: 14 September 1995 DOI:
Cite this article as: Macgregor, J.N. & Ormerod, T. Perception & Psychophysics (1996) 58: 527. doi:10.3758/BF03213088 Abstract
Two experiments on performance on the traveling salesman problem (TSP) are reported. The TSP consists of finding the shortest path through a set of points, returning to the origin. It appears to be an intransigent mathematical problem, and heuristics have been developed to find approximate solutions. The first experiment used 10-point, the second, 20-point problems. The experiments tested the hypothesis that complexity of TSPs is a function of number of nonboundary points, not total number of points. Both experiments supported the hypothesis. The experiments provided information on the quality of subjects’ solutions. Their solutions clustered close to the best known solutions, were an order of magnitude better than solutions produced by three well-known heuristics, and on average fell beyond the 99.9th percentile in the distribution of random solutions. The solution process appeared to be perceptually based.
Download to read the full article text References Attneave, F. (1982). Prägnanz and soap-bubble systems: A theoretical exploration. In J. Beck (Ed.), Organization and representation in perception (pp. 11-29). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. Barton, G. E.
Berwick, R. C.
Ristad, E. S.
Computational complexity and natural language
. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Google Scholar Boyd, S. C., Pulleyblank, W. R.
(1987). TRAVEL—an interactive travelling salesman problem package for the IBM personal computer.
Operations Research Letters
CrossRef Google Scholar Buckmaster, J. K. (1992). Evaluating human performance on the travelling salesman problem using a Hypercard based system. Unpublished master’s thesis, Loughborough University of Technology. Dantzig, G. B., Fulkerson, D. R.
Johnson, S. M.
(1959). On a linear-programming, combinatorial approach to the travellingsalesman problem.
CrossRef Google Scholar Flood, M. M.
(1956). The travelling salesman problem.
CrossRef Google Scholar Garner, W. R.
(1970). Good patterns have few alternatives.
PubMed Google Scholar Golden, B., Bodin, L., Doyle, T.
(1980). Approximate travelling salesman algorithms.
CrossRef Google Scholar Krolak, P., Felts, W.
(1971). A man-machine approach toward solving the travelling salesman problem.
Communications of the ACM
CrossRef Google Scholar Larkin, J. H.
(1989). Display-based problem solving. In D. Klahr & K. Kotovsky (Eds.),
Complex information processing
(pp. 319–341). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Google Scholar Lee, R. K. L. (1985). A heuristic approach to the travelling salesman problem [Unpublished Management Report]. University of Victoria, School of Public Administration. Lung, C.-T.
Dominowski, R. L.
(1985). Effects of strategy instructions and practice on nine-dot problem solving.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition
CrossRef Google Scholar Maier, N. R. F.
(1930). Reasoning in humans: I. On direction.
Journal of Comparative Psychology
CrossRef Google Scholar Michie, D., Fleming, J. G.
Oldfield, J. V.
(1968). A comparison of heuristic, interactive and unaided methods of solving a shortestroute problem. In D. Michie (Ed.),
(pp. 245–255). New York: Elsevier.
Google Scholar Norback, J. P.
Love, R. F.
(1977). Geometric approaches to solving the travelling salesman problem.
CrossRef Google Scholar Ormerod, T. C., & Chronicle, E. (1995, September). Rapid solution to perceptually presented intransigent problems: The case of the travelling salesman. Paper presented at the British Psychological Society Cognitive Section Conference, Bristol. Polivanova, N. I.
(1974). On some functional and structural features of the visual-intuitive components of a problem-solving process.
Voprosy Psikhologii [Questions of Psychology]
Google Scholar Pomerantz, J. R.
(1981). Perceptual organization and information processing. In M. Kubovy & J. R. Pomerantz (Eds.),
(pp. 141–180). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Google Scholar Sangalli, A. (1992, December 12). Why sales reps pose a hard problem. New Scientist, pp. 24–28. Scheerer, M.
(1963). Problem solving.
CrossRef PubMed Google Scholar Weisberg, R. W.
Alba, J. W.
(1981). An examination of the alleged role of “fixation” in the solution of several “insight” problems.
Journal of Experimental Psychology: General
CrossRef Google Scholar Wilf, H. S.
Algorithms and complexity
. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Google Scholar Copyright information
© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 1996