March 16, 2010
We saw in the previous exercise that finding an exact solution for the traveling salesman problem is extremely time consuming, taking time O(n!). The alternative is a heuristic that delivers a reasonably good solution quickly. One such heuristic is the “nearest neighbor:” pick a starting point, then at each step pick the nearest unvisited point, add it to the current tour and mark it visited, repeating until there are no unvisited points.
Your task is to write a program that solves the traveling salesman problem using the nearest neighbor heuristic. When you are finished, you are welcome to read or run a suggested solution, or to post your own solution or discuss the exercise in the comments below.