Acta Mathematicae Applicatae Sinica

, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 434–440 | Cite as

On the computational complexity of the maximum trade problem

  • Z. -Q. Luo
  • D. L. Parnas


Consider a computer assisted trading system in which the needs and the products of the traders are compared by a computer system and the trading proceeds without attaching a dollar price to each commodity. In such a system the computer serves as an “intelligent” communication link between traders, enhancing the ability of producers and consumers to exchange goods. In this paper, we examine one computational aspect of such computerized trading schemes: Given a list of trading proposals (each proposal specifying the quantities of the commodities to be traded), how should one arrange the trades so that the maximum number of trades can be made in the market? We show that this maximum trade problem is computationally hard; it is NP-complete (Nondeterministic Polynomial Time Complete). We then describe some related open questions and potential solutions.

Key words

Computational complexity maximum trade problem 3-SAT problem 


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  1. [1]
    Parnas, D.L. The Impact of Money-free Computer Assisted Barter Systems. Technical Report DCS-48-IR, July, 1985, Department of Computer Science, Victoria, B.C. V8W 2Y2, Canada.Google Scholar
  2. [2]
    Garey, M.R. and Johnson, D.S. Computers and Intractability: A Guide to the Theory of NP-completeness. San Francisco, CA: Freeman, 1979.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Science Press 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Z. -Q. Luo
    • 1
  • D. L. Parnas
    • 1
  1. 1.Communications Research Laboratory Department of Electrical and Computer EngineeringMcmaster UniversityHamiltonCanada

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