CP maintained a significant activity in optimization. There were several reasons for this, one of which was, of course, natural curiosity. Another was the importance of load balancing and data decomposition which is, as discussed previously in this chapter, ``just'' an optimization problem. Again, we already mentioned in Section 6.1 our interest in neural networks as a naturally parallel approach to artificial intelligence. Section 9.9 and Section 11.1 have shown how neural networks can be used in a range of optimization problems. Load balancing has the important (optimization) characteristic of NP completeness, which implies that it would take an exponential time to solve completely. Thus, we studied the travelling salesman problem (TSP) which is well known to be NP-complete and formally equivalent to other problems with this property. One important contribution of CP was the work of Simic [Simic:90a;91a]. [Simic:91a]
Simic derived the relationship between the neural network [Hopfield:86a] and elastic net [Durbin:87a;89a], [Rose:90f;91a;93a], [Yuille:90a] approaches to the TSP. This work has been extensively reviewed [Fox:91j;92c;92h;92i] and we will not go into the details here. A key concept is that of physical optimization which implies the use of a physics approach of minimizing the energy, that is, finding the ground state of a complex system set up as a physical analogy to the optimization problem. This idea is illustrated clearly by the discussion in Section 11.1.3 and Section 11.2. One can understand some reasons why a physics analogy could be useful from two possible plots of the objective function to be minimized, against the possible configurations, that is, against the values of parameters to be determined. Physical systems tend to look like Figure 11.1(a), where correlated (i.e., local) minima are ``near'' global minima. We usually do not get the very irregular landscape shown in Figure 11.1(b). In fact, we do find the latter case with the so-called random field Ising model, and here conventional physics methods perform poorly [Marinari:92a], [Guagnelli:92a]. Ken Rose showed how these ideas could be generalized to a wide class of optimization problems as a concept called deterministic annealing [Rose:90f], [Stolorz:92a]. Annealing is illustrated in Figure 11.23 (Color Plate). One uses temperature to smooth out the objective function (energy function) so that at high temperature one can find the (smeared) global minimum without getting trapped in spurious local minima. Temperature is decreased skillfully initializing the search at Temperature by the solution at the previous higher temperature . This annealing can be applied either statistically [Kirkpatrick:83a] as in Sections 11.1 and 11.3 or with a deterministic iteration. Neural and elastic networks can be viewed as examples of deterministic annealing. Rose generalized these ideas to clustering [Rose:90a;90c;91a;93a];
vector quantization used in coding [Miller:92b], [Rose:92a]; tracking [Rose:89b;90b]; and electronic packing [Rose:92b]. Deterministic annealing ;has also been used for robot path planning with many degrees of freedom [Fox:90k], [Gandhi:90b] (see also Figure 11.22 (Color Plate)), character recognition [Hinton:92a], scheduling problems [Gislen:89a;91a], [Hertz:92a], [Johnston:92a], and quadratic assignment [Simic:91a].
Figure 11.23: Annealing tracks global minima by initializing search at one temperature by minima found at other temperatures .
Neural networks have been shown to perform poorly in practice on the TSP [Wilson:88a], but we found them excellent for the formally equivalent load-balancing problem in Section 11.1. This is now understood from the fact that the simple neural networks used in the TSP [Hopfield:86a] used many redundant neural variables, and the difficulties reported in [Wilson:88a] can be traced to the role of the constraints that remove redundant variables. The neural network approach summarized in Section 11.1.6 uses a parameterization that has no redundancy and so it is not surprising that it works well. The elastic network can be viewed as a neural network with some constraints satisfied exactly [Simic:90a]. This can also be understood by generalizing the conventional binary neurons to multistate or Potts variables [Peterson:89b;90a;93a].
Moscato developed several novel ways of combining simulated annealing with genetic algorithms [Moscato:89a;89c;89d;89e] and showed the power and flexibility of these methods.