A mechanical model for the transportation problem

Michel Henon

Submitted on 5 September 2002


We describe a mechanical device which can be used as an analog computer to solve the transportation problem. In practice this device is simulated by a numerical algorithm. Tests show that this algorithm is 60 times faster than a current subroutine (NAG library) for an average 1000 x 1000 problem. Its performance is even better for degenerate problems in which the weights take only a small number of integer values.


Comment: 45 pages, 10 figures, 4 tables. This paper was written in 1992, but not published (see Addendum for a brief history)

Subjects: Mathematics - Optimization and Control; Astrophysics; Computer Science - Discrete Mathematics; Mathematics - Numerical Analysis; 65K05 (Primary) 90C08 (Secondary)