## Abstract

We prove that Simulated Annealing with an appropriate cooling schedule computes arbitrarily tight constant-factor approximations to the minimum spanning tree problem in polynomial time. This result was conjectured by Wegener (2005). More precisely denoting by n, m, wmax, and wmin the number of vertices and edges as well as the maximum and minimum edge weight of the MST instance, we prove that simulated annealing with initial temperature T0 = wmax and multiplicative cooling schedule with factor 1 - 1/l, where l = ?(mn ln(m)), with probability at least 1 - 1/m computes in time O(l(ln ln(l) + ln(T0/wmin))) a spanning tree with weight at most 1 + ? times the optimum weight, where [EQUATION]. Consequently, for any ? > 0, we can choose l in such a way that a (1 + ?)-approximation is found in time O((mn ln(n))1+1/?+o(1) (ln ln n + ln(T0/wmin))) with probability at least 1 - 1/m. In the special case of so-called (1 + ?)-separated weights, this algorithm computes an optimal solution (again in time O((mn ln(n))1+1/?+o(1) (ln ln n + ln(T0/wmin)))), which is a significant speed-up over Wegener's runtime guarantee of O(m8+8/?).

Original language | English |
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Title of host publication | Proceedings of the 2022 Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference |

Publisher | Association for Computing Machinery |

Publication date | 8 Jul 2022 |

Pages | 1381-1389 |

ISBN (Electronic) | 9781450392372 |

DOIs | |

Publication status | Published - 8 Jul 2022 |

Event | 2022 Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference - Virtual, Online, United States Duration: 9 Jul 2022 → 13 Jul 2022 |

### Conference

Conference | 2022 Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference |
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Location | Virtual, Online |

Country/Territory | United States |

Period | 09/07/2022 → 13/07/2022 |

## Keywords

- Approximation scheme
- Minimum spanning trees
- Runtime Analysis
- Simulated annealing
- Theory