Local search and the traveling salesman problem: A feature-based characterization of problem hardness
Mersmann Olaf, Bischl Bernd, Bossek Jakob, Trautmann Heike, Wagner Markus, Neumann Frank
With this paper we contribute to the understanding of the success of 2-opt based local search algorithms for solving the traveling salesman problem (TSP). Although 2-opt is widely used in practice, it is hard to understand its success from a theoretical perspective. We take a statistical approach and examine the features of TSP instances that make the problem either hard or easy to solve. As a measure of problem difficulty for 2-opt we use the approximation ratio that it achieves on a given instance. Our investigations point out important features that make TSP instances hard or easy to be approximated by 2-opt. © 2012 Springer-Verlag.