Encyclopedia of Operations Research and Management Science

2001 Edition
| Editors: Saul I. Gass, Carl M. Harris

Chinese postman problem

  • William R. StewartJr.
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/1-4020-0611-X_110

The Chinese Postman Problem acquired its name from the context in which it was first popularly presented. The Chinese mathematician Mei-Ko Kwan (1962)addressed the question of how, given a postal zone with a number of streets that must be served by a postal carrier (postman), does one develop a tour or route that covers every street in the zone and brings the postman back to his point of origin having traveled the minimum possible distance. Researchers who have followed on Kwan's initial work have since referred to this problem as the Chinese Postman Problem or CPP. In general, any problem that requires that all of the edges of a graph (streets, etc.) be traversed (served) at least once while traveling the shortest total distance overall is a CPP. Like its cousin, the traveling salesman problem, that seeks a route of minimum cost that visits every vertex of a graph exactly once before returning to the vertex of origin, the CPP has many real world manifestations, not the least of...

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • William R. StewartJr.
    • 1
  1. 1.College of William and MaryWilliamsburgUSA