Tabu Search

  • Fred Glover
  • Manuel Laguna
Reference work entry


Tabu search, also called adaptive memory programming, is a method for solving challenging problems in the field of optimization. The goal is to identify the best decisions or actions in order to maximize some measure of merit (such as maximizing profit, effectiveness, quality, and social or scientific benefit) or to minimize some measure of demerit (cost, inefficiency, waste, and social or scientific loss).

Practical applications in optimization addressed by tabu search are exceedingly challenging and pervade the fields of business, engineering, economics, and science. Everyday examples include problems in resource management, financial and investment planning, healthcare systems, energy and environmental policy, pattern classification, biotechnology, and a host of other areas. The complexity and importance of such problems has motivated a wealth of academic and practical research throughout the past several decades, in an effort to discover methods that are able to find solutions of higher quality than many found in the past and capable of producing such solutions within feasible time limits or at reduced computational cost.

Tabu search has emerged as one of the leading technologies for handling optimization problems that have proved difficult or impossible to solve with classical procedures that dominated the attention of textbooks and were considered the mainstays of available alternatives until recent times. A key feature of tabu search, underscored by its adaptive memory programming alias, is the use of special strategies designed to exploit adaptive memory. The idea is that an effective search for optimal solutions should involve a process of flexibly responding to the solution landscape in a manner that permits it to learn appropriate directions to take along with appropriate departures to explore new terrain. The adaptive memory feature of tabu search allows the implementation of procedures that are capable of searching this terrain economically and effectively.


Tabu Search Greedy Randomize Adaptive Search Procedure Scatter Search Path Relinking Elite Solution 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.OptTek SystemsIncBoulder COUSA
  2. 2.Leeds School of BusinessUniversity of ColoradoBoulder COUSA

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