We present a new optical method for solving bounded (input-length-restricted)
NP-complete combinatorial problems. We have chosen to demonstrate the method with an NP-complete problem called the traveling salesman problem (TSP). The power of optics in this method is realized by using a fast matrix–vector multiplication between a binary matrix,
representing all feasible TSP tours, and a gray-scale vector, representing the weights among the TSP cities. The multiplication is performed optically by using an optical correlator. To synthesize the initial binary matrix representing all feasible tours, an efficient algorithm is provided. Simulations and experimental results prove the validity of the new method.
© 2007 Optical Society of America
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