I moved my question from
Theoretical Computer Science to this site - proposed by one of the users there - and I'm hoping don't be off-topic again.
At my university, I had chosen to write a term paper about
Inventory Routing Problem (
To get comfortable with this topic (I'm a software engineer), I started with some simpler problems like
Traveling Salesman Problem (
TSP) and afterwards with the
Vehicle Routing Problem (
VRP) which can be defined as simplified IRP problems.
To solve these kind of problems, I wrote an
Ant Colony System algorithm with some adaption to the specific problem.
But one thing I'm pretty unsure is how to deal with the start and end node of a TSP?
Most literature have a strong constraint, that the depot (start/end node) has to be the same and is determined, which makes sense.
But the algorithms (heuristics) just cover finding the shortest path.
A lot of algorithms determines the starting point randomly.
Are there any disadvantages if I define the starting point as fix?
But the bigger question is can I add the last point (starting point) independently of the found route to calculate the total costs?
Let's say the algorithm find the cheapest way with
D -> 2 -> 3 -> 1 (-> D) but recalculating these manually results in
D -> 2 -> 1 -> 3 -> D because
1 -> 3 -> Dis faster than
3 -> 1 -> D.
But how I have to include a fixed ending point in my algorithm?
I guess it's independent of which specific algorithm.
If you don't understand my question please leave a comment and I try to rewrite it =)