CS149-Notes-1-Motivation - Introduction to Combinatorial...

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Unformatted text preview: Introduction to Combinatorial Optimization CS 149 Staff September 8, 2009 Combinatorial optimization is useful for solving many problems outside of com- puter science. For example, consider a museum robber who would like to steal the crown jewels. Unfortunately, he forgot to bring a Mack truck, so has to pick and choose. One natural heuristic is to be greedy, placing the item with the highest value per pound (that will fit) in one’s knapsack until no more items will fit. This is good enough for your average burglar, but the Mafia won’t settle for suboptimality. Later on in the course we will discuss how to systematically search through the possibilities, thereby proving a solution to the optimal. This is a lot less exhausting if one can infer that any solution better than the best currently known must include or exclude certain items, without having to explicitly enumerate all the possibilities....
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