Detour: Tractable and Intractable Problems

Explore NP and intractable problems.

Inspired by Euler’s Theorem, you probably are wondering whether there exists such a simple result leading to a fast algorithm for the Hamiltonian Cycle Problem. The key challenge is that while we’re guided by Euler’s Theorem in solving the Eulerian Cycle Problem, an analogous simple condition for the Hamiltonian Cycle Problem remains unknown. Of course, you could always explore all walks through the graph and report back if you find a Hamiltonian cycle. The problem with this brute force method is that for a graph on just a thousand nodes, there may be more walks through the graph than there are atoms in the universe!

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