The interrelation between supply and demand is easily described as long as you have just one good. For the complicated calculations in an economy with many goods, many suppliers, and many buyers Ran Duan and Kurt Mehlhorn found a relatively simple combinatorial algorithm.
Jasmin Christian Blanchette
Anja Feldmann, Director
Thomas Lengauer, Director (em.)
Kurt Mehlhorn, Director (em.)
Rishiraj Saha Roy
Bernt Schiele, Director
Hans-Peter Seidel, Director
Gerhard Weikum, Director
While the acceleration of hardware has been a landmark of progress in computing technology in the past few decades, the computing enhancements that it provides is dwarfed by the increase in speed, performance, and robustness resulting from new algorithms.
As a point in case, the status of hardware and algorithms in 1970 allowed to compute an optimal tour of a traveling salesman (a classical optimization problem and accepted benchmark for computing power) through 120 cities. Increasing the number of cities from n to n+1 leads to a multiplicative increase of the number of possible tours by a factor of n. Thus, relying only on the increase of hardware speed, with today’s technology, and the algorithms of 1970 we could find optimal tours among only 135 cities. It is the progress in algorithms that, today, enables us to find optimal tours between many thousand of cities. Relying only on progress in hardware this performance would not be achievable in hundreds of years.
The Max Planck Institute for Informatics is devoted to cutting-edge research in informatics with a focus on algorithms and their applications in a broad sense.