# Chinese postman problem

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1 PTR hinese postman problem Learning objectives fter studying this chapter, you should be able to: understand the hinese postman problem apply an algorithm to solve the problem understand the importance of the order of vertices of graphs..1 Introduction In 12, a hinese mathematician called Kuan Mei-Ko was interested in a postman delivering mail to a number of streets such that the total distance walked by the postman was as short as possible. ow could the postman ensure that the distance walked was a minimum? In the following example a postman has to start at, walk along all 1 streets and return to. The numbers on each edge represent the length, in metres, of each street. The problem is to find a trail that uses all the edges of a graph with minimum length We will return to solving this actual problem later, but initially we will look at drawing various graphs.

2 hinese postman problem 4.2 Traversable graphs traversable graph is one that can be drawn without taking a pen from the paper and without retracing the same edge. In such a case the graph is said to have an ulerian trail. ulerian trails are dealt with in detail in hapter. raph 1 raph 2 raph If we try drawing the three graphs shown above we find: it is impossible to draw raph 1 without either taking the pen off the paper or re-tracing an edge we can draw raph 2, but only by starting at either or in each case the path will end at the other vertex of or raph can be drawn regardless of the starting position and you will always return to the start vertex. What is the difference between the three graphs? In order to establish the differences, we must consider the order of the vertices for each graph. We obtain the following: raph 1 Vertex Order raph 2 Vertex Order 4 4 2

3 4 hinese postman problem raph Vertex Order When the order of all the vertices is even, the graph is traversable and we can draw it. When there are two odd vertices we can draw the graph but the start and end vertices are different. When there are four odd vertices the graph can t be drawn without repeating an edge. n ulerian trail uses all the edges of a graph. or a graph to be ulerian all the vertices must be of even order. If a graph has two odd vertices then the graph is said to be semi-ulerian. trail can be drawn starting at one of the odd vertices and finishing at the other odd vertex. To draw the graph with odd vertices, edges need to be repeated. To find such a trail we have to make the order of each vertex even. In graph 1 there are four vertices of odd order and we need to pair the vertices together by adding an extra edge to make the order of each vertex four. We can join and, or and, or and. In each case the graph is now traversable. Worked example.1 Which of the graphs below is traversable? (a) (b) (c)

4 hinese postman problem 4 Solution raphs (a) and (c) are traversable as all the vertices are of even order. raph (b) is not traversable as there are vertices of odd order. XRIS Which of the graphs below are traversable? 1 2. Pairing odd vertices If there are two odd vertices there is only one way of pairing them together. If there are four odd vertices there are three ways of pairing them together. ow many ways are there of pairing six or more odd vertices together? If there are six odd vertices, then consider the vertex. It can be paired with any of the other five vertices and still leave four odd vertices. We know that the four odd vertices can be paired in three ways; therefore the number of ways of pairing six odd vertices is 1 1.

5 4 hinese postman problem Similarly, if there are eight odd vertices, then consider the first odd vertex. This could be paired with any of the remaining seven vertices and still leave six odd vertices. We know that the six odd vertices can be paired in 1 ways therefore the number of ways of pairing eight odd vertices is 1 10 ways. We can continue the process in the same way and the results are summarised in the following table. Number of odd vertices Number of possible pairings n (n 1) (n ) (n ) 1 xam questions will not be set where candidates will have to pair more than four odd vertices but students do need to be aware of the number of ways of pairing more than four odd vertices..4 hinese postman algorithm To find a minimum hinese postman route we must walk along each edge at least once and in addition we must also walk along the least pairings of odd vertices on one extra occasion. n algorithm for finding an optimal hinese postman route is: Step 1 List all odd vertices. Step 2 List all possible pairings of odd vertices. Step or each pairing find the edges that connect the vertices with the minimum weight. Step 4 ind the pairings such that the sum of the weights is minimised. Step On the original graph add the edges that have been found in Step 4. Step The length of an optimal hinese postman route is the sum of all the edges added to the total found in Step 4. Step route corresponding to this minimum weight can then be easily found. Worked example.2 If we now apply the algorithm to the original problem:

6 hinese postman problem Step 1 The odd vertices are and. Step 2 There is only one way of pairing these odd vertices, namely. Step The shortest way of joining to is using the path,,, a total length of 10. Step 4 raw these edges onto the original network. 0 Step The length of the optimal hinese postman route is the sum of all the edges in the original network, which is 40 m, plus the answer found in Step 4, which is 10 m. ence the length of the optimal hinese postman route is 1000 m. Step One possible route corresponding to this length is, but many other possible routes of the same minimum length can be found.

7 hinese postman problem XRIS 1 ind the length of an optimal hinese postman route for the networks below. (a) (b) (c) I 4 1 J. inding a route The method for finding the length of the hinese postman route is quite straightforward, but to find the list of edges corresponding to this route can be quite tricky, especially in complicated networks. It is useful to calculate how many times each vertex will appear in a hinese postman route. The following method should be applied before trying to find the route. Step 1 On the original diagram add the extra edges to make the graph ulerian.

8 hinese postman problem 1 Step 2 List the order of each vertex. t this stage each vertex will have an even order. Step The number of times each edge will appear in a hinese postman route will be half the order of its vertex, with the exception being vertex (the start/finish vertex), as this will appear on one extra occasion. Referring to the diagram below, the orders of the vertices are as follows: Vertex Order This indicates that the number of times each vertex will appear in the hinese postman route is: The number of vertices in the optimal hinese postman route is 1. They may be in a different order than in the example above but they must have the number of vertices as indicated in the table.

9 2 hinese postman problem XRIS ind a route corresponding to an optimal hinese postman route for the questions in xercise.. Variations of the hinese postman problem Occasionally problems may be set where the start vertex and the finish vertex do not have to be the same. ny graph with two odd vertices is semi-ulerian. or this type of graph the length of the hinese postman route is the sum of all the edges of a network. In a network with four vertices, the graph is semi-ulerian plus two odd edges. In addition to the start and finish vertices there are two other odd vertices. The shortest hinese postman route is the sum of all the edges plus the shortest distance connecting the two remaining odd vertices. Worked example. county council is responsible for maintaining the following network of roads. The number on each edge is the length of the road in miles The council office is based at. (a) council worker has to inspect all the roads, starting and finishing at. ind the length of an optimal hinese postman route.

10 hinese postman problem (b) supervisor, based at, also wishes to inspect all the roads. owever, the supervisor lives at and wishes to start his route at and finish at. ind the length of an optimal hinese postman route for the supervisor. Solution (a) There are four odd vertices:,, and. There are three ways of pairing these odd vertices and the minimum length of each pairing is: raw the edges and onto the network. The length of all the roads in the network is 11. The length of an optimal hinese postman route for the worker is miles. (b) Starting at and finishing at leaves two odd vertices and. The minimum distance from to is 12. The length of an optimal hinese postman route for the supervisor is miles. XRIS or each of the networks below find the length of an optimal hinese postman route starting at and finishing at

11 4 hinese postman problem MIX XRIS 1 local council is responsible for gritting roads. (a) The following diagram shows the lengths of roads, in miles, that have to be gritted The gritter is based at and must travel along all the roads, at least once, before returning to. (i) xplain why it is not possible to start from and, by travelling along each road only once, return to. (ii) ind an optimal hinese postman route around the network, starting and finishing at. State the length of your route. (b) (i) The connected graph of the roads in the area run by another council has six odd vertices. ind the number of ways of pairing these odd vertices. (ii) or a connected graph with n odd vertices, find an expression for the number of ways of pairing these vertices. []

12 hinese postman problem 2 road-gritting service is based at a point. It is responsible for gritting the network of roads shown in the diagram, where the distances shown are in miles (a) xplain why it is not possible to start from and, by travelling along each road only once, return to. (b) In the network there are four odd vertices,,, and. List the different ways in which these odd vertices can be arranged as two pairs. (c) or each pairing you have listed in (b), write down the sum of the shortest distance between the first pair and the shortest distance between the second pair. (d) ence find an optimal hinese postman route around the network, starting and finishing at. State the length of your route. [] highways department has to inspect its roads for fallen trees. (a) The following diagram shows the lengths of the roads, in miles, that have to be inspected in one district. isburn () 12 arrowford () litheroe () Sawley (S) 1 Waddington (W)

13 hinese postman problem (i) List the three different ways in which the four odd vertices in the diagram can be paired. (ii) ind the shortest distance that has to be travelled in inspecting all the roads in the district, starting and finishing at the same point. (b) The connected graph of the roads in another district has six odd vertices. ind the number of ways of pairing these odd vertices. (c) or a connected graph with n odd vertices, find an expression for the number of ways of pairing these odd vertices. [] 4 theme park employs a student to Ice ream (I) patrol the paths and collect litter. The paths that she has to patrol are 14 shown in the following diagram, 0 where all distances are in metres. 0 The path connecting I and W passes Slide (S) under the bridge which carries the 0 path connecting and R. hair () (a) (i) ind an optimal hinese postman route that the student should take if she is to start and finish at Reception (R). (ii) State the length of your route. (b) (i) service path is to be constructed. Write down the two places that this path should connect, if the student is to be able to walk along every path without having to walk along any path more than once. (ii) The distance walked by the student in part (b)(i) is shorter than that found in part (a)(ii). iven that the length of the service path is l metres, where l is an integer, find the greatest possible value of l. [] In the following network the four vertices are odd Reception (R) 1 0 Wheel (W) (a) List the different ways in which the vertices can be arranged as two pairs.

14 hinese postman problem (b) or each pairing you have listed in (a), write down the sum of the shortest distance between the first pair and the shortest distance between the second pair. ence find the length of an optimal hinese postman route around the network. (c) State the minimum number of extra edges that would need to be added to the network to make the network ulerian. [] groundsman at a local sports centre has to mark out the lines of several five-a-side pitches using white paint. e is unsure as to the size of the goal area and he decides to paint the outline as given below, where all the distances are in metres (a) e starts and finishes at the point. ind the minimum total distance that he must walk and give one of the corresponding possible routes. (b) efore he starts to paint the second pitch he is told that each goal area is a semi-circle of radius m, as shown in the diagram below. 2 2 P R 10 X 20 Y 10 Q S 2 2 (i) e can start at any point but must return to his starting point. State which vertices would be suitable starting points to keep the total distance walked from when he starts to paint the lines until he completes this task to a minimum. (ii) ind an optimal hinese postman route around the lines. alculate the length of your route. []

15 hinese postman problem The diagram shows a network of roads connecting five villages. The numbers on the roads are the times, in minutes, taken to travel along each road, where x 0.. police patrol car has to travel from its base at along each road at least once and return to base. (a) xplain why a route from to must be repeated. (b) List the routes, and their lengths, from to, in terms of x where appropriate. (c) On a particular day, it is known that x 10. ind the length of an optimal hinese postman route on this day. State a possible route corresponding to this minimum length. (d) ind, no matter what the value of x, which of the three routes should not be used if the total length of a hinese postman route is to be optimal. [] 4 2x 1 x 2 The following question refers to the three graphs: raph 1, raph 2 and raph. raph 1 raph 2 raph (a) or each of the graphs explain whether or not the graph is ulerian. (b) The length of each edge connecting two vertices is 1 unit. ind, for each of the graphs, the length of an optimal hinese postman route, starting and finishing at. []

16 hinese postman problem The diagram shows the time, in minutes, for a traffic warden to walk along a network of roads, where x 0. The traffic warden is to start at and walk along each road at least once before returning to. 10 2x 14 (a) xplain why a section of roads from to has to be repeated. 1 (b) The route is the second shortest route connecting to. ind the range of possible values of x. (c) ind, in terms of x, an expression for the minimum distance that the traffic warden must walk and write down a possible route that he could take. (d) Starting at, the traffic warden wants to get to as quickly as possible. Use ijkstra s algorithm to find, in terms of x, the minimum time for this journey, stating the route that he should take. [] x The following diagram shows a network of roads connecting six towns. The number on each arc represents the distance, in miles, between towns. The road connecting towns and has length x miles, where x x n optimal hinese postman route, starting and finishing at, has length 100 miles. ind the value of x. []

17 0 hinese postman problem 11 The following network shows the distances, in kilometres, of roads connecting ten towns J I (a) n ambulance is based at and has to respond to an emergency at J. Use ijkstra s algorithm to find the minimum distance required to travel from to J, and state the route. (b) police motorcyclist, based at town, has to travel along each of the roads at least once before returning to base at. ind the minimum total distance the motorcyclist must travel. [] 12 The following diagram shows the lengths of roads, in miles, connecting nine towns I 11 (a) Use Prim s algorithm, starting from, showing your working at each stage, to find the minimum spanning tree for the network. State its length.

18 hinese postman problem 1 (b) (i) ind an optimal hinese postman route around the network, starting and finishing at. You may find the shortest distance between any two towns by inspection. (ii) State the length of your route. [] 1 The network on the right has 1 vertices. (a) iven that the length of each edge is 1 unit, find: (i) the shortest distance from to K (ii) the length of a minimum spanning tree. (b) (i) ind the length of an optimal hinese postman route, starting and finishing at. (ii) or such a route, state the edges that would have to be used twice. (iii) iven that the edges and LP are now removed, find the new length of an optimal hinese postman route, starting and finishing at. [] I L K N O P M J 14 The numbers of parking meters on the roads in a town centre are shown in the network on the right. (a) traffic warden wants to start at, walk along the roads passing each meter at least once and finish back at. She wishes to choose her route in order to minimise the number of meters that she passes more than once. (i) xplain how you know that it will be necessary for her to pass some meters more than once. (ii) pply the hinese postman algorithm to find the minimum number of meters which she will have to pass more than once, and give an example of a suitable route (b) t each of the junctions,,,,, and there is a set of traffic lights. The traffic warden is asked to make a journey, starting and finishing at, to check that each set of traffic lights is working correctly. ind a suitable route for her which passes or fewer meters. []

19 2 hinese postman problem 1 The vertices of the following network represent the chalets in a small holiday park and the arcs represent the paths between them, with the lengths of the paths given in metres. P 2 10 T U 4 X W 20 2 V 20 S gardener wishes to sweep all the paths, starting and finishing at P, and to do so by walking (always on the paths) as short a distance as possible. pply the hinese postman algorithm to find the shortest distance the gardener must walk, and give one possible shortest route. [] 20 Q R Key point summary 1 traversable graph is one that can be drawn p4 without taking a pen from the paper and without retracing the same edge. In such a case the graph is said to have an ulerian trail. 2 n ulerian trail uses all the edges of a graph. p4 or a graph to be ulerian all the vertices must be of even order. If a graph has two odd vertices then the graph is p4 said to be semi-ulerian. trail can be drawn starting at one of the odd vertices and finishing at the other odd vertex. 4 minimum hinese postman route requires each p4 edge to be walked along at least once and in addition the least pairings of odd vertices must be walked along on one extra occasion.

20 hinese postman problem Test yourself What to review 1 Which of the following networks is traversable? Section.2 (a) (b) (c) 2 ind the number of ways of pairing: Section. (a) odd vertices, (b) 12 odd vertices, (c) 20 odd vertices. List the ways of pairing the odd vertices in the following Sections.,.4,. networks. or each pairing find the minimum connector. ind the length of an optimal hinese postman route. Write down one possible route. (a) (b)

21 4 hinese postman problem Test yourself NSWRS 1 (a) No (b) Yes (c) No 2 (a) 10 (b) 10 (c) (a) 1 1 Total 1 (b) 2 Total

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