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A global optimization method is presented for solving the snapshot and time-varying reconfiguration problems for large-scale electric power distribution networks. The snapshot reconfiguration problem using one single snapshot of the network loading condition is solved by two steps: first, search for the local optimums by Dijkstra's shortest-path algorithm, and form core schema chromosomes by core schema algorithm; second, search possible core schema chromosomes for the global optimums by employing genetic algorithm. The time-varying reconfiguration problem, which utilizes varying, loading conditions during each given time interval, is solved as a series of snapshot problems based on dynamic programming. The proposed method can be used as an efficient tool for distribution network planning, on-line dispatching, and off-line analysis.