Mathematical Programming

, Volume 78, Issue 2, pp 109–129 | Cite as

A polynomial time primal network simplex algorithm for minimum cost flows

  • James B. Orlin


Developing a polynomial time primal network simplex algorithm for the minimum cost flow problem has been a long standing open problem. In this paper, we develop one such algorithm that runs in O(min(n 2m lognC, n 2m2 logn)) time, wheren is the number of nodes in the network,m is the number of arcs, andC denotes the maximum absolute arc costs if arc costs are integer and ∞ otherwise. We first introduce a pseudopolynomial variant of the network simplex algorithm called the “premultiplier algorithm”. We then develop a cost-scaling version of the premultiplier algorithm that solves the minimum cost flow problem in O(min(nm lognC, nm 2 logn)) pivots. With certain simple data structures, the average time per pivot can be shown to be O(n). We also show that the diameter of the network polytope is O(nm logn).


Minimum cost flows Network simplex Polynomial time Simplex algorithm Premultipliers 


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Copyright information

© The Mathematical Programming Society, Inc 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • James B. Orlin
    • 1
  1. 1.Sloan School of Management, MITCambridgeUSA

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