The Nimble Mind of Vasek Chvatal 

Magnifying glass

Computation mathematician Vasek ChvŠtal had a packed hall chuckling on Dec. 10 in what is likely to be a series of public lectures by members of the Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science.

ChvŠtalís work on an intriguing mathematical puzzle has attracted the attention over the years of the New York Times, the New Scientist, Discover and The Explorer. Last year the work culminated in a book ó The Traveling Salesman Problem: A Computational Study, by David L. Applegate, Robert E. Bixby, Vasek ChvŠtal and William J. Cook, published by Princeton University Press.

The TSP goes like this: Given a finite number of cities and the cost of travel between each pair of them, find the cheapest way of visiting all the cities and returning to your starting point.

Working with a team over the last several years, ChvŠtal has made significant progress in addressing the computational challenges involved. For more about ChvŠtal and the book see The Journal, March 22, 2007.

 

Concordia University