Here is what we do. We take a group of talented young people, and we expose them to the history and theory of some famous NP problem. The traveling salesman problem will do nicely.
—Charles Sheffield, 1996.1
Salesmen, lawyers, preachers, authors, and tourists have been plotting tours for years, not to mention all of those tennis players collecting balls after long practice sessions. With all this experience, could the human mind be a viable non-computer platform for cracking the general TSP?
Like any good sporting event, the 1997 chess match between World Champion Gary Kasparov and IBM’s Deep Blue drew vocal supporters for both contestants. Those hoping to keep machines at bay for a few more years pulled ...