A Colored Traveling Salesman Problem with Varying City Colors

Xianghu Meng, Jun Li, Mengchu Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A colored traveling salesman problem (CTSP) is a path optimization problem in which colors are used to characterize diverse matching relationship between cities and salesmen. Namely, each salesman has a single color while every city has one to multiple salesmen's colors, thus allowing salesmen to visit exactly once the cities of their colors. It is noteworthy that cities' accessibilities to salesmen may change over time, which usually takes place in the multiwarehouse distribution of online retailers. This work presents a new CTSP with dynamically varying city colors for describing and modeling some scheduling problems with variable city accessibilities. The problem is more complicated than the previously proposed CTSP with varying edge weights. In particular, the solution feasibility changes as the cities change their colors, that is, a feasible original solution path may become no longer feasible after city colors change. A variable neighborhood search (VNS) algorithm is presented to solve the new problem. Specifically, a dynamic environment simulator with an adjustable frequency and amplitude is designed to mimic such color changes. Then, direct-route encoding, greedy initialization, and appropriate population immigrant are proposed to form an enhanced VNS, and then its performance is evaluated. The results of extensive experiments show that the proposed VNS can quickly track the environmental changes and effectively resolve the problem.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4533483
JournalDiscrete Dynamics in Nature and Society
StatePublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Modeling and Simulation


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