The Shoelace Problem
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|Ivars Peterson (MathTrek)|
|How should shoes be laced? This seemingly simple question, rooted in everyday life, can provoke passionate argument - and evoke a mathematical response. There are at least three common ways to lace shoes, as illustrated: American (or standard) zigzag, European straight, and quick-action shoe store. Which lacing style a person uses depends on a variety of factors, ranging from aesthetic appeal to tying efficiency. The shoelace question represents a special, restricted instance of the classic traveling salesman problem...|
|Levels:||Middle School (6-8), High School (9-12), College|
|Math Topics:||Graph Theory, Optimization|
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