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Chinese Postman

Traversability means?...

A

B

D

Traversability

A network is said to be Traversable if you can draw it without

removing your pen from the paper and without retracing the

same arc twice.

In order to start and end at the same node the network must be

Eularian (all nodes order/valency must be even).

still traversable, but you start and end at different nodes (and

the network is Semi-Eularian)

The Notes

The Chinese Postman algorithm was invented in 1962 and takes its name from the

Chinese mathematician Kuan Mei-Ko who considered the problem of a postman who

has to deliver mail to houses along each of the streets in a particular housing

estate and wants to minimise the distance he has to walk.

This is known as a route inspection problem and can be summarised as follows: find

a closed trail of minimum weight containing every arc.

If the graph in question is Eulerian then such a trail is easy to find. However, many

graphs are not Eulerian and this is where the problem becomes more interesting. It

is important to remember that if a graph is relatively small, trial and error may be

able to be used. However, when a large graph is involved, an algorithm is needed

and this is where the Chinese Postman algorithm is useful.

Each arc in a network adds 1 to the orders of 2 nodes. Therefore, the total of the

orders of all the nodes is twice the number of arcs. This means that in any network

there is always an even number of odd nodes. (If there was an odd number of odd

nodes, the total of the orders of all the nodes would be odd which is not possible)

Such a network can be made traversable by linking together pairs of odd nodes

with additional arcs. The effect of adding these extra arcs is to make all nodes

even and thus the network is now Eulerian and traversable. The Chinese Postman

algorithm considers all possible pairings of nodes of odd order and finds the

connecting paths of minimum weight. The grouping with the minimum weight is then

selected and these arcs are then duplicated. Finally, a trail is found containing

every arc for the new Eulerian graph.

E

1

14

12

C

9

Why not?

E

1

14

12

C

9

Solution?

E

1

14

12

C

9

9

5

Best Solution?

E

1

14

A

2

12

C

2

3

5

E

1

14

A

2

12

C

2

3

5

E

1

2

2

14

A

2

12

C

2

3

5

Best solution!

E

1

2

2

14

A

2

12

C

2

3

5

Aim: To find the least-weight closed trail containing every arc

Step 2: For each pair of odd nodes find the connecting

path of minimum weight.

Step 3: Pair up all the odd nodes so that the sum of the

weights of the connecting paths from Step 2 is minimised.

Step 4: In the original graph, duplicate the minimum

weight paths found in Step 3.

Step 5: Find a trail containing every arc for the new

(Eulerian) Graph.

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