Lecturer: Jonathan Noel
Term(s): Term 2
Status for Mathematics students: List A for mathematics
Commitment: 30 lectures.
Assessment: 2 hour exam
Content: The focus of combinatorial optimisation is on finding the "optimal" object (i.e. an object that maximises or minimises a particular function) from a finite set of mathematical objects. Problems of this type arise frequently in real world settings and throughout pure and applied mathematics, operations research and theoretical computer science. Typically, it is impractical to apply an exhaustive search as the number of possible solutions grows rapidly with the "size" of the input to the problem. The aim of combinatorial optimisation is to find more clever methods (i.e. algorithms) for exploring the solution space.
This module provides an introduction to combinatorial optimisation. Our main focus is on several fundamental problems arising in graph theory and linear programming and algorithms developed to solve them. These include problems related to shortest paths, minimum weight spanning trees, linear programming, matchings, network flows, cliques, colourings, dynamic programming, multicommodity flows and matroids. We will also discuss "intractible" (e.g. NP-hard) problems.
A preliminary schedule for the 2018-2019 edition of the module can be found here.
- A. Schrijver, A Course in Combinatorial Optimization, Unpublished Lecture Notes, 2017. Available for free through the link.1
- A. Bondy and U. S. R. Murty, Graph Theory with Applications, Elsevier, 1976. Available through the link.
- B. Korte and J. Vygen, Combinatorial Optimization: Theory and Algorithms, Springer, 6th Edition, 2018. E-book available through the Warwick Library; click the link.
- A. Schrijver, Advanced Graph Theory and Combinatorial Optimization, Unpublished Lecture Notes. Available for free through the link.1
- W.J. Cook, William H. Cunningham, W. R. Pulleybank, and A. Schrijver, Combinatorial Optimization, Wiley-Interscience Series in Discrete Mathematics, 1998.
- C.H. Papadimitriou and K. Steiglitz Combinatorial Optimization: Algorithms and Complexity Optimization: Algorithms and Complexity, Dover Publications, 1998.
- D. Bertsimas, J. N. Tsitsiklis, Introduction to linear optimization, Athena Scientific, c1997
1Permission to use these unpublished lecture notes for this module was generously granted by the author, A. Schrijver.