Graph Attention-based Deep Reinforcement Learning for solving the Chinese Postman Problem with Load-dependent costs

24 Oct 2023  ·  Truong Son Hy, Cong Dao Tran ·

Recently, Deep reinforcement learning (DRL) models have shown promising results in solving routing problems. However, most DRL solvers are commonly proposed to solve node routing problems, such as the Traveling Salesman Problem (TSP). Meanwhile, there has been limited research on applying neural methods to arc routing problems, such as the Chinese Postman Problem (CPP), since they often feature irregular and complex solution spaces compared to TSP. To fill these gaps, this paper proposes a novel DRL framework to address the CPP with load-dependent costs (CPP-LC) (Corberan et al., 2018), which is a complex arc routing problem with load constraints. The novelty of our method is two-fold. First, we formulate the CPP-LC as a Markov Decision Process (MDP) sequential model. Subsequently, we introduce an autoregressive model based on DRL, namely Arc-DRL, consisting of an encoder and decoder to address the CPP-LC challenge effectively. Such a framework allows the DRL model to work efficiently and scalably to arc routing problems. Furthermore, we propose a new bio-inspired meta-heuristic solution based on Evolutionary Algorithm (EA) for CPP-LC. Extensive experiments show that Arc-DRL outperforms existing meta-heuristic methods such as Iterative Local Search (ILS) and Variable Neighborhood Search (VNS) proposed by (Corberan et al., 2018) on large benchmark datasets for CPP-LC regarding both solution quality and running time; while the EA gives the best solution quality with much more running time. We release our C++ implementations for metaheuristics such as EA, ILS and VNS along with the code for data generation and our generated data at

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