Improved bounds for the traveling salesman problem with neighborhoods on uniform disks

Ioana Oriana Bercea*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Given a set of n disks of radius R in the Euclidean plane, the Traveling Salesman Problem With Neighborhoods (TSPN) on uniform disks asks for the shortest tour that visits all of the disks. The problem is a generalization of the classical Traveling Salesman Problem(TSP) on points and has been widely studied in the literature. For the case of disjoint uniform disks of radius R, Dumitrescu and Mitchell [14] give a PTAS and also show that the optimal TSP tour on the centers of the disks is a 3.547-approximation to the TSPN version. The core of the latter analysis is based on bounding the detour that the optimal TSPN tour has to make in order to visit the centers of each disk and shows that it is at most 2Rn in the worst case. Häme, Hyytiä and Hakula [21] asked whether this bound is tight when R is small and conjectured that it is at most √3Rn. We further investigate this question and derive structural properties of the optimal TSPN tour to describe the cases in which the bound is smaller than 2Rn. Specifically, we show that if the optimal TSPN tour is not a straight line, at least one of the following is guaranteed to be true: the bound is smaller than 1.999Rn or the TSP on the centers is a 2-approximation. The latter bound of 2 is the best that we can get in general. Our framework is based on using the optimality of the TSPN tour to identify local structures for which the detour is large and then using their geometry to derive better lower bounds on the length of the TSPN tour. This leads to an improved approximation factor of 3.53 for disjoint uniform disks and 6.728 for the general case. We further show that the Häme, Hyytiä and Hakula conjecture is true for the case of three disks and discuss the method used to obtain it.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes
Event30th Canadian Conference on Computational Geometry, CCCG 2018 - Winnipeg, Canada
Duration: 8 Aug 201810 Aug 2018


Conference30th Canadian Conference on Computational Geometry, CCCG 2018


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