In a few hours Santa will begin his annual tour of the world, dropping down chimney’s and delivering presents to all the children who have behaved themselves this year. He may not realise it, but he is solving a Traveling Salesman Problem as he plans which route to take.
What is more amazing that he can deliver all these presents in a single night, even if we account for the fact that time differences gives him some extra time. How does he manage to do this?
I recently publsihed a post that suggested that if Santa could travel faster than the speed of light then all of his problems would be solved. I also published another post that enabled you to add your home to Santa’s list, so that he does not forget you (we made sure that UNMC would get a visit!).
Some of the science that might also help Santa is given in this piece which has just been published in TheConversation, specifically in the Science + Technology section. It considers whether the Traveling Salesman Problems is the answer to all Santa’s problems.
Note: I also published a similar post at the University of Nottingham