A new formulation and approach for the black and white traveling salesman problem

Ibrahim Muter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (SciVal)


This paper proposes a new formulation and a column generation approach for the black and white traveling salesman problem. This problem is an extension of the traveling salesman problem in which the vertex set is divided into black vertices and white vertices. The number of white vertices visited and the length of the path between two consecutive black vertices are constrained. The objective of this problem is to find the shortest Hamiltonian cycle that covers all vertices satisfying the cardinality and the length constraints. We present a new formulation for the undirected version of this problem, which is amenable to the Dantzig–Wolfe decomposition. The decomposed problem which is defined on a multigraph becomes the traveling salesman problem with an extra constraint set in which the variable set is the feasible paths between pairs of black vertices. In this paper, a column generation algorithm is designed to solve the linear programming relaxation of this problem. The resulting pricing subproblem is an elementary shortest path problem with resource constraints, and we employ acceleration strategies to solve this subproblem effectively. The linear programming relaxation bound is strengthened by a cutting plane procedure, and then column generation is embedded within a branch-and-bound algorithm to compute optimal integer solutions. The proposed algorithm is used to solve randomly generated instances with up to 80 vertices.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-106
JournalComputers and Operations Research
Early online date14 Aug 2014
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015


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