Using River Formation Dynamics to Design Heuristic Algorithms

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Finding the optimal solution to NP-hard problems requires at least exponential time. Thus, heuristic methods are usually applied to obtain acceptable solutions to this kind of problems. In this paper we propose a new type of heuristic algorithms to solve this kind of complex problems. Our algorithm is based on river formation dynamics and provides some advantages over other heuristic methods, like ant colony optimization methods. We present our basic scheme and we illustrate its usefulness applying it to a concrete example: The Traveling Salesman Problem.

Research partially supported by the MCYT project TIN2006-15578-C02-01, the Junta de Castilla-La Mancha project PAC06-0008-6995, and the Marie Curie project MRTN-CT-2003-505121/TAROT.