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  • Textbook
  • Open Access
  • © 2023

Design of Heuristic Algorithms for Hard Optimization

With Python Codes for the Travelling Salesman Problem


  • This book is open access, which means that you have free and unlimited access

  • Offers step-by-step procedures for the design of heuristic algorithms

  • Contains numerous short illustrative codes for the travelling salesman problem

  • Covers the main metaheuristics in a simple but rigorous way

Part of the book series: Graduate Texts in Operations Research (GRTOPR)

Buying options

Hardcover Book USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

Table of contents (12 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xv
  2. Combinatorial Optimization, Complexity Theory, and Problem Modelling

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 1-1
    2. Elements of Graphs and Complexity Theory

      • Éric D. Taillard
      Pages 3-29Open Access
    3. A Short List of Combinatorial Optimization Problems

      • Éric D. Taillard
      Pages 31-61Open Access
    4. Problem Modeling

      • Éric D. Taillard
      Pages 63-81Open Access
  3. Basic Heuristic Techniques

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 83-83
    2. Constructive Methods

      • Éric D. Taillard
      Pages 85-101Open Access
    3. Local Search

      • Éric D. Taillard
      Pages 103-129Open Access
    4. Decomposition Methods

      • Éric D. Taillard
      Pages 131-152Open Access
  4. Popular Metaheuristics

    1. Front Matter

      Pages 153-154
    2. Randomized Methods

      • Éric D. Taillard
      Pages 155-170Open Access
    3. Construction Learning

      • Éric D. Taillard
      Pages 171-183Open Access
    4. Local Search Learning

      • Éric D. Taillard
      Pages 185-198Open Access
    5. Population Management

      • Éric D. Taillard
      Pages 199-228Open Access
    6. Heuristics Design

      • Éric D. Taillard
      Pages 229-245Open Access
    7. Codes

      • Éric D. Taillard
      Pages 247-258Open Access
  5. Back Matter

    Pages 259-287

About this book

This open access book demonstrates all the steps required to design heuristic algorithms for difficult optimization. The classic problem of the travelling salesman is used as a common thread to illustrate all the techniques discussed. This problem is ideal for introducing readers to the subject because it is very intuitive and its solutions can be graphically represented. The book features a wealth of illustrations that allow the concepts to be understood at a glance.

The book approaches the main metaheuristics from a new angle, deconstructing them into a few key concepts presented in separate chapters: construction, improvement, decomposition, randomization and learning methods. Each metaheuristic can then be presented in simplified form as a combination of these concepts. This approach avoids giving the impression that metaheuristics is a non-formal discipline, a kind of cloud sculpture. Moreover, it provides concrete applications of the travelling salesman problem, which illustrate in just a few lines of code how to design a new heuristic and remove all ambiguities left by a general framework. Two chapters reviewing the basics of combinatorial optimization and complexity theory make the book self-contained. As such, even readers with a very limited background in the field will be able to follow all the content.


  • Algorithms
  • Heuristics
  • Travelling Salesman
  • Local Search
  • Metaheuristics
  • Combinatorial Optimization
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Open Access

Authors and Affiliations

  • University of Applied Sciences of Western Switzerland, HEIG-VD, Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland

    Éric D. Taillard

About the author

Éric D. Taillard is a professor at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Western Switzerland, HEIG-VD campus in Yverdon-les-Bains. After completing his studies and obtaining a PhD at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, he worked as a researcher at the Interuniversity Research Centre on Enterprise Networks, Logistics and Transportation in Montreal, Canada, and then at the Dalle Molle Institute for Artificial Intelligence in Lugano, Switzerland.

He has over 30 years of research experience in the field of metaheuristics. Outside of Switzerland, he has been invited to teach this subject at various universities: Vienna and Graz in Austria, Nantes in France and Hamburg in Germany.

Bibliographic Information

Buying options

Hardcover Book USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)