Journal of Combinatorial Optimization

, Volume 32, Issue 3, pp 842–854 | Cite as

The Canadian Tour Operator Problem on paths: tight bounds and resource augmentation

  • Sabine Büttner
  • Sven O. Krumke


In the prize-collecting travelling salesman problem, we are given a weighted graph \(G=(V,E)\) with edge weights \(\ell :E\rightarrow \mathbb {R}_+\), a special vertex \(r\in V\), penalties \(\pi :V\rightarrow \mathbb {R}_+\) and the goal is to find a closed tour \(T\) such that \(r\in V(T)\) and such that the cost \(\ell (T)+\pi (V\setminus V(T))\), which is the sum of the edges in the tour and the cost of the vertices not spanned by \(T\), is minimized. We consider an online variant of the prize-collecting travelling salesman problem related to graph exploration. In the Canadian Tour Operator Problem the task is to find a closed route for a tourist bus in a given network \(G=(V,E)\) in which some edges are blocked by avalanches. An online algorithm learns from a blocked edge only when reaching one of its endpoints. The bus operator has the option to avoid visiting each node \(v\in V\) by paying a refund of \(\pi (v)\) to the tourists. The goal consists of minimizing the sum of the travel costs and the refunds. We study the problem on a simple (weighted) path and prove tight bounds on the competitiveness of deterministic algorithms. Specifically, we give an algorithm with competitive ratio equal to the golden ratio \(\phi =(1+\sqrt{5})/2\). We also study the effect of resource augmentation, where the online algorithm either pays a discounted cost for traversing edges or for the penalties.


Online computation Competitive analysis Resource augmentation Graph exploration 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of MathematicsUniversity of KaiserslauternKaiserslauternGermany

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