Optical processor for solving the traveling salesman problem (TSP)

Natan T. Shaked, Gil Simon, Tal Tabib, Stephane Mesika, Shlomi Dolev, Joseph Rosen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


This paper introduces an optical solution to (bounded-length input instances of) an NP-complete problem called the traveling salesman problem using a pure optical system. The solution is based on the multiplication of a binary-matrix, representing all feasible routes, by a weight-vector, representing the weights of the problem. The multiplication of the binary-matrix by the weight-vector can be implemented by any optical vector-matrix multiplier. In this paper, we show that this multiplication can be obtained by an optical correlator. In order to synthesize the binary-matrix, a unique iterative algorithm is presented. This algorithm synthesizes an N-node binary-matrix using rather small number of vector duplications from the (N-1)-node binary-matrix. We also show that the algorithm itself can be implemented optically and thus we ensure the entire optical solution to the problem. Simulation and experimental results prove the validity of the optical method.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOptical Information Systems IV
StatePublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes
EventOptical Information Systems IV - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: 16 Aug 200617 Aug 2006

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X


ConferenceOptical Information Systems IV
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA


  • NP-complete problems
  • Optical computing
  • Optical correlators
  • Optical data processing


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