Chapter 13

In Chapter 12, we saw how finding the shortest route could be speeded up by incorporating a heuristic estimate of the distance from each point to the destination. The term ‘heuristic’ can be applied more generally to any approach which does not guarantee to find an optimal solution in the way that an algorithm does, but that in most cases will find a good solution and may often do this more quickly than the optimum algorithm. In this chapter, we are going to look at some problems for which heuristics provide the only solution because there are no known algorithms which will solve the problem in a reasonable time.

To illustrate the general nature of the problem, let us consider the first of our two examples, ...

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