Thinking Analytically: Any port in a storm
By John Toczek
There is significant danger to boats caught out in the open sea during a storm. Ideally, boats will dock before the storm hits and wait it out.
The map shows 20 orange boats out at sea. With a storm approaching, each boat needs to be directed to one of three docks. Docks have a limited number of spaces available for boats (indicated by the rectangular spaces). Altogether, there are 20 boat spaces available. The boats are clustered into three areas, and each area varies in distance to the docks (as indicated by the black arrows). All boats must be assigned to one unique space in a dock.
What is the minimum possible total distance traveled by all boats to the docks?
John Toczek earned his BSc. in chemical engineering at Drexel University (1996) and his MSc. in operations research from Virginia Commonwealth University (2005). He is a member of INFORMS.
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