Winter 2018, Vol. 26, No. 4, Pages 597-620
© 2017 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Leveraging TSP Solver Complementarity through Machine Learning
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The Travelling Salesperson Problem (TSP) is one of the best-studied NP-hard problems. Over the years, many different solution approaches and solvers have been developed. For the first time, we directly compare five state-of-the-art inexact solvers—namely, LKH, EAX, restart variants of those, and MAOS—on a large set of well-known benchmark instances and demonstrate complementary performance, in that different instances may be solved most effectively by different algorithms. We leverage this complementarity to build an algorithm selector, which selects the best TSP solver on a per-instance basis and thus achieves significantly improved performance compared to the single best solver, representing an advance in the state of the art in solving the Euclidean TSP. Our in-depth analysis of the selectors provides insight into what drives this performance improvement.