Saturday, December 24, 2011

Santa-tracking - thanks to a Pittsburgher

With the obligatory news coverage of NORAD's Santa tracker upon us, I will just repeat last year's Christmas Eve post and point out that the Santa tracker owes its start to diasporan and Westminster grad Colonel Harry Shoup.   He gets the credit always, as in the ABC post just out, but his local connection is mostly lost to the ages.  Since he strarted it somewhat accidentially, NORADs service to the world has run almost smoothly every year, except for when the Google folks almost caused a diplomatic incident recently.
I will divulge the Secret Santa path for deliveries in the United States:

Which shows Santa is not really constrained by time or fuel efficiency.  What is really shows is just how much my programming skills have atrophied at this point.   If I ever in my career teach a class in computer science (unlikely) I think I will assign the traveling Santa problem to find the shortest noncrossing path that will hit every county in the country, which is all that map really does.  That algorithms book is still on the shelf though.  


Blogger Brady said...

Late comment, but you can see a NY Times article on the same problem--the TSP--for the real problem of political candidates here:

There are experts in this area of mathematics--operations research--here at both CMU (Tepper School) and Pitt (Dept of Industrial Engineering).

Sunday, January 01, 2012 4:51:00 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home