A New Algorithm for Optimal Bin Packing

Richard E. Korf, University of California, Los Angeles

We consider the NP-complete problem of bin packing. Given a set of numbers, and a set of bins of fixed capacity, find the minimum number of bins needed to contain all the numbers, such that the sum of the numbers assigned to each bin does not exceed the bin capacity. We present a new algorithm for optimal bin packing. Rather than considering the different bins that each number can be placed into, we consider the different ways in which each bin can be packed. Our algorithm appears to be asymptotically faster than the best existing optimal algorithm, and runs more that a thousand times faster on problems with 60 numbers.

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