The task of optimal route finding is crucial for many businesses. It is known as the Traveling Salesman Problem or TSP and is of particular relevance in situations when the supply expenses are nearly compared to the cost of the product itself, and the speed of delivery is one of the main priorities. Let's take a look at the insight of this traveling salesmen issue in more detail and learn what helpful solutions have been developed.
What is the Traveling Salesman Problem?
It is a well-known and intensely investigated issue. Challenge is to find the traveling salesman problem solver to create the most optimal route passing through all specified points or cities only once and coming back to the beginning point. The traveling salesman problem solution also should contain optimality route criteria: the shortest, the fastest, the cheapest, or all together and initial data of the route such as distance, cost, time, etc.
The TSP is based on the Hamilton cycle, which deals with finding a path visiting every node once, and returning to the beginning within the graph, but TSP is concerned with a Hamiltonian circuit as a traveling salesman calculator with the lowest cost.
The peculiarity of the TSP is that it is simple enough to formulate, and it is also relatively easy to get a good decision for it, but finding an optimal route for a large data set is not an easy and resource-intensive process.
Approaches for the traveling salesman problem solution
There are many different ways to find the best traveling salesman problem solver, which can be divided into several groups: exact, heuristic, and metaheuristic algorithms.
Exact algorithms find an assured optimal solution.
This group includes:
The brute force method – is a sequential consideration of all possible routes and choosing the optimal one.
The branch-and-bound method is a variation of the exhaustive search that differs by screening out from the calculating process subsets of ineffective solutions.
The key idea of dynamic programming is to be a reliable TSP solver to calculate and memorize the distance traveled from the original city to all the others, then add to them the distances from the current cities to the remaining ones, and so on. The first TSP application of dynamic programming is the Held-Karp Algorithm. Compared to exhaustive search, this traveling salesman problem tool can significantly reduce the amount of computation.
The main advantage of the group techniques is that they assure to find the right solution for TSP problem, which is not possible for algorithms from other groups. However, in practice, these algorithms are rarely applied due to the enormous time spent even for small values of N.
Heuristic algorithms determine good or near-optimal solutions but are sufficient to solve the traveling salesman problem.
The wooden algorithm is a procedure for solving through the construction of the shortest spanning tree.
Greedy algorithms are based on finding locally optimal solutions at each stage of computations and assume that the final found TSP solver will be globally optimal. So at each iteration, the best section of the path is selected, which is included in the final route. The most popular application of greedy algorithms is the Nearest Neighbor algorithm that builds a path by finding the vertex closest to a given vertex.
The 2-opt algorithm reduces to removing two intersecting edges and inserting new edges that do not break the correctness of the solution.
The advantages of these algorithms to solve the TSP problem are the speed strict dependence of a solution finding on the initial data size. They also have the disadvantages – the low quality of the response with an increase in the number of cities.
Metaheuristic algorithms – generalized traveling salesman problem strategies for finding the optimum in the space of solutions, depending on randomness.
Ant algorithm – an algorithm that mimics the behavior of an ant colony seeking a path to a food source.
Simulated annealing is an algorithm that simulates the physical process of substance crystallization at a decreasing temperature.
A genetic algorithm mimics the evolutionary process in nature.
The algorithm of cloning selection is a form of a genetic algorithm that does not use inheritance from multiple ancestors.
The advantages of these algorithms are implementation simplicity, finding more optimal paths in comparison with heuristic algorithms. The disadvantages of these algorithms include the dependence on hyperparameters, which are selected individually for different sets of initial data, as well as the complexity of the asymptotic analysis due to differing hyperparameters.
What approach to deal with the problem is better?
The choice of one or another approach to the traveling salesman problem solving is due to the initial data size, available production information, the definite implementing time, and the required goals. For example, use navigators require accuracy on a small amount of the original data with low performance and limited time. So it is justified to use precise algorithms. In the case of selecting the optimal routes for the goods delivery, the best TSP solution is using heuristic algorithms that have predictable enough speed and no need to tune hyperparameters, also have good results with an insignificant amount of the initial data. If reliability is required for a significant number of points combined with high performance and limited time, it is worth using the metaheuristic algorithms to get the TSP solver optimap.
How to Solve Traveling Salesman Problem. Different Programming Languages
Distancematrix API understands how the TSP problems are important in transportation logistics, an industry that cooperates with transportation planning. Traveling salesman should go around N points and eventually return to the origin place to sell products and goods. And to select the excellent path, you may apply traveling salesman problem Java, TSP python, and other programming languages.
Given a number of places and the current distance between them, the TSP problem is in detection of the shortest way where each place will be visited only once and then return to the origin point. To simplify it, remember about the Hamiltonian Cycle. You might use a naive TSP variant for the counting or apply a programming language. Traveling salesman problem Java, Python TSP, C++, or C# is dynamic programming to receive the shortest way.
Let's try to solve the TSP, define the best path for the following scheme:
We see that the best path here is 1-2-4-3-1. The cost here is defined as 10+25+30+15 and equals 80. Using TSP coding with dynamic programming, we define i as the price, and 1 will be our start and end point. Everything here seems simple [cost(i) + dist(i, 1)]. Our aim is to calculate the cost, that is, to receive the value of i. It is better to take the traveling salesman algorithm on any programming language to find out the price of the less expensive route.
The programming language needs you to define variables for correct computation. The program makes calculations with higher accuracy and this is convenient if you need to calculate large numbers of places and distances. The programming language simplifies the calculations and provides you with several options for the fastest and least expensive TSP routes. Our traveling salesman problem solver will be, for example, Java.
The target of the Distancematrix API is to find the fastest, shortest, and least expensive way to implement on traveling salesman problem Python, TSP Java source code, or using C++.
Practical Significance of the Traveling Salesman Problem
The application of the TSP is quite extensive. The task is used in logistics, transport, various communication systems designing, even in psychology and pedagogy.
Examples of the possible options for using the traveling salesman problem in logistic practices are determining the optimal route for cargo transportation; calculation of the best traveling salesman map for couriers, in telecommunications and communications – satellite management, telecommunication systems design, informatics – data array clustering, energy and utilities – connecting settlements with power lines and gas supply), electronics (designing microcircuit topologies).
In addition to logistics, the TSP task is also applied in the economy and human activity: finance (optimization of cash flows, for example, finding ways to transfer funds with minimal transaction costs), tourism (traveling salesman calculator of routes for excursions and tours), show business (organizing tours of music groups), biology (genome assembly), etc.
In this regard, developing algorithms and methods for successful TSP solutions are in great demand.
Where is Travelling salesman problem calculator used?
Traveling salesman calculator has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its ability to optimize complex routing problems in a fraction of the time it would take a human to solve them manually. It has practical applications in a wide range of fields, from logistics and transportation to finance and biology. TSP calculators use advanced algorithms to find the shortest possible route that visits a set of locations and returns to the starting point. This can be a valuable tool for businesses looking to optimize their delivery or sales routes, as well as for researchers looking to solve complex routing problems in their fields. By leveraging the power of a traveling salesman problem solver, organizations can save time, reduce costs, and increase efficiency.
What is the best tsp solver?
The best TSP solver depends on various factors, such as the size of the problem, the required accuracy, and the available computational resources. There are many algorithms available to solve the TSP, including exact methods such as branch and bound and cutting plane, and heuristic methods such as ant colony optimization, simulated annealing, and genetic algorithms. The choice of the best tsp problem solver also depends on the specific requirements of the problem and the preferences of the user. Some solvers may be more suitable for small instances, while others may be better suited for large-scale problems. Nowadays, you can find the best tsp solver online. It is recommended to test different solvers on a particular problem to determine which one provides the best results.
Popular solution in business practice — Distancematrix.ai API
Academic TSP solutions try to generate an ideal one for this vital issue but the vast majority is not suitable as real-life decisions. The reason is that creating the best Google maps traveling salesman is time-consuming. In real life, time frequently is a crucial choice factor. For instance, a logistics company needs to figure out a route in minutes when planning its daily schedule because its results depend on both these shipping route planning decisions and avoiding drivers' downtime. So the business world requires not optimal salesman traveling problem solutions but near-optimal ones in the shortest possible time, providing companies with the opportunity to plan routes without any problem, quickly and efficiently.
There are different ways to solve the TSP problem other than the academic approaches. There are a lot of API solutions for optimization, but they are significantly limited by the number of waypoints to be optimized, with no time windows, no round trips, no capacity constraints, etc.
Applying the Distance Matrix API, you can calculate the distance and the route time between each pair of locations taking into account real-time data. Keep in mind that depending on the particular traveling salesperson problem task, you can make calculations taking into account the real-time traffic or not. Besides, the request calculation time is up to 50 elements per second, and you can get the API response in less than a second.
Distancematrix.ai API tool supports roads all over the world. Using it as a traveling salesman solver, you can assign the nearest driver based on proximity, provide job opportunities only for a particular drive time, and determine the nearest goods delivery point to a customer. Also, you can create a standard distance matrix or use a single origin with multiple destinations.
Distancematrix.ai also considerably facilitates the travel salesman process when it is required to request a big matrix.
As you can see, efficient TSP solver in your business practice can help you reduce the cost of the order and the delivery time, optimize trips and delivery for suppliers and distributors, etc. You can choose any of the many different TSP tools for this purpose, but remember that Distancematrix.ai is a reliable one that can make things easier as it was designed as the TSP solver. We strongly believe it's a great option to enhance the effectiveness of your business performance.