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Mathematical Models for Society and Biology, 2nd Edition by Edward Beltrami

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Chapter 4

Clean Streets

4.1 Background

A truck with a large rotating mechanical broom attached to its front rumbles slowly down a residential street, cautiously avoiding the few illegally parked cars that hinder its progress. After sweeping several miles of neighborhood streets, the truck returns, some hours later, to the depot from which it started. Along the way it continues to sweep, on one side of a street or the other; if it has already passed in this direction, it lifts the broom and moves on to the next street along the route that has yet to be swept. When this happens, some valuable time is wasted; the unproductive travel is called deadheading, and the goal is to find a route that requires the least amount of deadheading. A version of ...

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