*Rolf Niedermeier*

- Published in print:
- 2006
- Published Online:
- September 2007
- ISBN:
- 9780198566076
- eISBN:
- 9780191713910
- Item type:
- chapter

- Publisher:
- Oxford University Press
- DOI:
- 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198566076.003.0002
- Subject:
- Mathematics, Combinatorics / Graph Theory / Discrete Mathematics

This chapter introduces the basic mathematical formalism and discusses concepts used throughout the book. Among other things, it looks at decision problems vs optimization problems, Random Access ...
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This chapter introduces the basic mathematical formalism and discusses concepts used throughout the book. Among other things, it looks at decision problems vs optimization problems, Random Access Machines, big Oh notation, strings and graphs. It concludes by looking at the basics from computational complexity theory.Less

This chapter introduces the basic mathematical formalism and discusses concepts used throughout the book. Among other things, it looks at decision problems vs optimization problems, Random Access Machines, big Oh notation, strings and graphs. It concludes by looking at the basics from computational complexity theory.

*Cristopher Moore and Stephan Mertens*

- Published in print:
- 2011
- Published Online:
- December 2013
- ISBN:
- 9780199233212
- eISBN:
- 9780191775079
- Item type:
- chapter

- Publisher:
- Oxford University Press
- DOI:
- 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199233212.003.0002
- Subject:
- Physics, Theoretical, Computational, and Statistical Physics

This chapter discusses the complexity of a problem by thinking about the best possible algorithm, or computer program, that solves it. It shows that computational complexity theory is not about how ...
More

This chapter discusses the complexity of a problem by thinking about the best possible algorithm, or computer program, that solves it. It shows that computational complexity theory is not about how to write better programs, but about understanding the underlying structure of different problems as well as asking fundamental questions about them. The chapter first explains problems and solutions by considering a Eulerian path and a Hamiltonian path. It then examines Euclid's algorithm, time and space, and the notion of scaling in physics. It also analyzes the distinction between polynomial functions of n and exponential ones, why this distinction is very important, and why it is so robust with respect to changes in the definition of computation. Finally, the chapter looks at the tractability and mathematical insight into a problem's structure.Less

This chapter discusses the complexity of a problem by thinking about the best possible algorithm, or computer program, that solves it. It shows that computational complexity theory is not about how to write better programs, but about understanding the underlying structure of different problems as well as asking fundamental questions about them. The chapter first explains problems and solutions by considering a Eulerian path and a Hamiltonian path. It then examines Euclid's algorithm, time and space, and the notion of scaling in physics. It also analyzes the distinction between polynomial functions of n and exponential ones, why this distinction is very important, and why it is so robust with respect to changes in the definition of computation. Finally, the chapter looks at the tractability and mathematical insight into a problem's structure.