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In this paper, we propose and analyze the design of MANIP, a parallel machine for processing nondeterministic polynomial (NP)-hard problems. The most general technique that can be used to solve a wide variety of NP-hard problems on a uniprocessor system, optimally or suboptimally, is the branch-and-bound algorithm. We have adapted and extended branch-and-bound algorithms for parallel processing. The parallel branch-and-bound algorithmn requires a combination of sorting and merging that will be too inefficient to perform in a common memory. We have proposed a system with distributed intelligence so that sorting can be carried out efticiently. A unidirectional ring network is shown to be the most cost-effective interprocessor communication network. The performance on the proposed system is evaluated using the vertex-covering problem.
Date of Publication: May 1984