# Questions tagged [heuristics]

Questions about algorithmic strategies that quickly solve a problem well most of the time, but give no guarantees.

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### When to use SAT vs Constraint Satisfaction?

If I have a hard problem, one standard approach is to express it as a SAT instance and try running a SAT solver on it. Another standard approach is to express it as a constraint satisfaction problem, ...
749 views

### Measuring the difficulty of SAT instances

Given an instance of SAT, I would like to be able to estimate how difficult it will be to solve the instance. One way is to run existing solvers, but that kind of defeats the purpose of estimating ...
1k views

### Sort array with minimum swaps

Given an array, I need to sort the array (if not already sorted) in either decreasing or increasing order so that number of swaps are minimized. I was thinking of first determining whether it is ...
23k views

### Why is the A* search heuristic optimal even if it underestimates costs?

A* search finds optimal solution to problems as long as the heuristic is admissible which means it never overestimates the cost of the path to the from any given node (and consistent but let us focus ...
31k views

### How does an admissible heuristic ensure an optimal solution?

When using A* (or any other best path finding algorithm), we say that the heuristic used should be admissible, that is, it should never overestimate the actual solution path's length (or moves). How ...
5k views

### What is the no free lunch theorem?

I've been reading about the No Free Lunch Theorem, but I can't quite understand what it is about. I've heard this theorem described elsewhere as the claim that "no general purpose universal optimiser ...
8k views

### Difference between heuristic and approximation algorithm?

i have a problem regarding the following situation. I have two arrays of numbers like this: ...
2k views

### Classification of job shop scheduling problems

I'm writing a program (using genetic algorithms) that finds sort-of-optimal scheduling plan for a factory. The factory has several types of machines (say, ...
4k views

### A Good Resource for Christofides' Heuristic

Is there an explanation Christofides's Heuristic for solving TSP which does not simply state the algorithm and go ahead to prove the bound? To be specific: (Disclaimer : I am an engineer who knows ...
13k views

### Why is 'Manhattan distance' a better heuristic for 15 puzzle than 'number of tiles misplaced'?

Consider two heuristics $h_1$ and $h_2$ defined for the 15 puzzle problem as: $h_1(n)$ = number of misplaced tiles $h_2(n)$ = total Manhatten distance Could anyone tell why $h_2$ is a better ...
1k views

### A heuristic for finding a maximum disjoint set

Background I need to find a largest set of non-overlapping axis-parallel squares, out of a given collection of candidate squares. This problem is NP-complete. Many papers suggest approximation ...
I have a weighted, undirected, Euclidean complete graph $G$, a special vertex $r$, and an upper bound $b$. I want to find a minimum-cost path cover that covers all vertices of $G$, subject to the ...