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Theoretical Aspects of Local Search (Monographs in Theoretical Computer Science. An EATCS Series)

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In 1958 Croes published a twenty page article in Operations Research describing a new method to handle traveling salesman problems based on the iterative use of simple edge-exchange mechanisms. This article can be seen as the seminal paper on local search, reporting for the first time the success of simple neighborhood-based iteration methods when applied to combinatorial optimization problems.

Half a century of practice reveals that local search has become quite extensively used, and evidence exists that it has become one of the most frequently and widely applied heuristic search methods in engineering, operations research, and design. By October 2006 the well-known search engine Google returned over twenty million entries upon the query ‘local search’. Applications of local search are abundantly available in real life, and they are by no means limited to small-scale or insignificant toy problems. On the contrary, fields are known where local search provides a competitive edge to business and product engineering. For instance, in chip design, the use of tools applying local-search-based techniques for determining area-effective silicon layouts has resulted in smaller chips than those that could be obtained with other placement techniques, resulting in cost savings of several million euros on a yearly basis as a result of increased production yield. The use of local search techniques in logistics has enabled the computation of cost-effective routes for the transportation of packets that need to be shipped over a complex network of roads and railways. This improves throughput and shortens delivery time, which in turn leads to substantial cost savings.
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