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In Pursuit of the Traveling Salesman by William J. Cook

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Preface

The star of Geoff Mack’s song has been to Reno, Chicago, Fargo, Buffalo, Toronto, Winslow, Sarasota, Wichita, Tulsa, Ottawa, Oklahoma, Tampa, Panama, Mattawa, LaPaloma, Bangor, Baltimore, Salvador, Amarillo, Tocapillo, Barranquilla, and Padilla.

One night in February 1988, my friend Vašek Chvátal and I decided to follow in the footsteps of mathematical giants and take a crack at finding the shortest way around such destinations. Next day we met at Tri-State Camera, a computer vendor in lower Manhattan. When the technician learned we were mathematicians in need of a speedy computer, he looked us in the eye and warned, “You guys aren’t trying to solve that traveling salesman problem, are ya?” Quite a bit of foresight there. This was the ...

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