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Excursions in modern mathematics by Peter Tannenbaum

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You are on page 1of 15

6.2 Complete Graphs?

6.3 Traveling Salesman Problems

6.4 Simple Strategies for Solving TSPs

6.5 The Brute-Force and Nearest-Neighbor

Algorithms

6.6 Approximate Algorithms

6.7 The Repetitive Nearest-Neighbor Algorithm

6.8 The Cheapest-Link Algorithm

Copyright 2010 Pearson Education, Inc.

In Chapter 5 we discussed Euler paths and

Euler circuits. There, the name of the game

was to find paths or circuits that include

every edge of the graph once (and only

once). We are now going to discuss a

seemingly related game: finding paths and

circuits that include every vertex of the

graph once and only once. Paths and

circuits having this property are called

Hamilton paths and Hamilton circuits.

Copyright 2010 Pearson Education, Inc.

that includes each vertex of the graph

once and only once.

A Hamilton circuit is a circuit that

includes each vertex of the graph

once and only once. (At the end, of

course, the circuit must return to the

starting vertex.)

On the surface, there is a one-word

difference between Euler paths/circuits and

Hamilton paths/circuits: The former covers

all edges; the latter covers all vertices.

But oh my, what a difference that one word

makes!

Example 6.1

that (1) has Euler circuits

(the vertices are all even)

and (2) has Hamilton

circuits.

One such Hamilton

circuit is A, F, B, C, G,

D, E, A there are

plenty more.

Copyright 2010 Pearson Education, Inc.

Example 6.1

then it automatically has a Hamilton paththe

Hamilton circuit can always be truncated into

a Hamilton path by dropping the last vertex of

the circuit. (For example, the Hamilton circuit

A, F, B, C, G, D, E, A can be truncated into

the Hamilton path A, F, B, C, G, D, E.)

Contrast this with the mutually exclusive

relationship between Euler circuits and paths:

If a graph has an Euler circuit it cannot have

an Euler path and vice versa.

Copyright 2010 Pearson Education, Inc.

Example 6.1

Euler circuits but does have Euler paths (for

example C, D, E, B, A, D) and (2) has no

Hamilton circuits (sooner or later you have to

go to C, and then you are stuck) but does

have Hamilton paths (for

example, A, B, E, D, C).

This illustrates that a

graph can have a

Hamilton path but no

Hamilton circuit!

Copyright 2010 Pearson Education, Inc.

Example 6.1

Euler circuits nor paths (it has four odd

vertices) and (2) has Hamilton circuits (for

example A, B, C, D, E, A there are plenty

more) and consequently

has Hamilton paths (for

example, A, B, C, D, E).

Example 6.1

circuits (the vertices are all even) and (2) has

no Hamilton circuits (no matter what, you are

going to have to go through E more than

once!) but has Hamilton

paths (for example, A, B,

E, D, C).

Example 6.1

that (1) has no Euler

circuits but has Euler

paths (F and G are the

two odd vertices) and (2)

has neither Hamilton

circuits nor Hamilton

paths.

Example 6.1

graph that (1) has

neither Euler circuits nor

Euler paths (too many

odd vertices) and (2)

has neither Hamilton

circuits nor Hamilton

paths.

Summary

The lesson of Example 6.1 is that the

existence of an Euler path or circuit in a

graph tells us nothing about the existence of

a Hamilton path or circuit in that graph. This

is important because it implies that Eulers

circuit and path theorems from Chapter 5

are useless when it comes to identifying

Hamilton circuits and paths. But surely,

there must be analogous Hamilton circuit

and path theorems that we could use to

determine if a graph has a Hamilton circuit,

a Hamilton path, or neither.

Copyright 2010 Pearson Education, Inc.

Surprisingly, no such theorems exist.

Determining when a given graph does or

does not have a Hamilton circuit or path can

be very easy, but it also can be very hardit

all depends on the graph.

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