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Shayan Oveis Gharan finds the shortest route to success

Broad mathematical toolkit had led to key advances in the traveling salesman problem

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11:04am, September 21, 2016
Shayan Oveis Gharan

Theoretical computer scientist Shayan Oveis Gharan has identified connections between unrelated fields to tackle the traveling salesman problem.

Shayan Oveis Gharan, 30
Theoretical computer scientist
University of Washington

The SN 10

It’s a problem that sounds simple, but the best minds in mathematics have puzzled over it for generations: A salesman wants to hawk his wares in several cities and return home when he’s done. If he’s only visiting a handful of places, it’s easy for him to schedule his visits to create the shortest round-trip route. But the task rapidly becomes unwieldy as the number of destinations increases, ballooning the number of possible routes.

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