Traveling Salesmen in the Presence of Competition
Abstract
We propose the ``Competing Salesmen Problem'' (CSP), a 2player competitive version of the classical Traveling Salesman Problem. This problem arises when considering two competing salesmen instead of just one. The concern for a shortest tour is replaced by the necessity to reach any of the customers before the opponent does. In particular, we consider the situation where players take turns, moving along one edge at a time within a graph G=(V,E). The set of customers is given by a subset V_C V of the vertices. At any given time, both players know of their opponent's position. A player wins if he is able to reach a majority of the vertices in V_C before the opponent does. We prove that the CSP is PSPACEcomplete, even if the graph is bipartite, and both players start at distance 2 from each other. We show that the starting player may lose the game, even if both players start from the same vertex. For bipartite graphs, we show that the starting player always can avoid a loss. We also show that the second player can avoid to lose by more than one customer, when play takes place on a graph that is a tree T, and V_C consists of leaves of T. For the case where T is a star and V_C consists of n leaves of T, we give a simple and fast strategy which is optimal for both players. If V_C consists not only of leaves, the situation is more involved.
 Publication:

arXiv eprints
 Pub Date:
 December 2002
 arXiv:
 arXiv:cs/0212001
 Bibcode:
 2002cs.......12001F
 Keywords:

 Computer Science  Computational Complexity;
 F.2.2
 EPrint:
 23 pages, 9 figures, Latex, to appear in Theoretical Computer Science