This book explores the meta-heuristics approach called tabu search, which is dramatically changing our ability to solve a host of problems that stretch over the realms of resource planning, telecommunications, VLSI design, financial analysis, scheduling, space planning, energy distribution, molecular engineering, logistics, pattern classification, flexible manufacturing, waste management, mineral exploration, biomedical analysis, environmental conservation and scores of other problems. The major ideas of tabu search are presented with examples that show their relevance to multiple applications. Numerous illustrations and diagrams are used to clarify principles that deserve emphasis, and that have not always been well understood or applied. The book's goal is to provide `hands-on' knowledge and insight alike, rather than to focus exclusively either on computational recipes or on abstract themes. This book is designed to be useful and accessible to researchers and practitioners in management science, industrial engineering, economics, and computer science. It can appropriately be used as a textbook in a masters course or in a doctoral seminar. Because of its emphasis on presenting ideas through illustrations and diagrams, and on identifying associated practical applications, it can also be used as a supplementary text in upper division undergraduate courses.
Finally, there are many more applications of tabu search than can possibly be covered in a single book, and new ones are emerging every day. The book's goal is to provide a grounding in the essential ideas of tabu search that will allow readers to create successful applications of their own. Along with the essential ideas, understanding of advanced issues is provided, enabling researchers to go beyond today's developments and create the methods of tomorrow.