There are some computer problems so hard that computer scientists consider them out of reach. They label them "intractable" and move on.
But researchers at Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., have developed tools to solve such problems, at least in certain practical situations. Mostly their approach is to have the computer do what a human being might do: stop, go back and start over and try something different.
"Even though these problems are intractable in the worst cases, we can find structure in real-world problems that we can exploit so that the problems do not fall into the worst-case scenario," explains Carla Gomes, Cornell associate professor of computing and information science and applied economics and management.
Bill Steele | EurekAlert!
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