Larry Davidson, who teaches math at Weston High School, reports a fellow teacher used the Globe's delivery problems, in particular, the new delivery company's inability to develop good routes for carriers, to develop a lesson plan:
The biggest issue was the â€śtraveling salesman problemâ€ť: trying to find the most efficient route through a large number of locations. We simulated the problem by asking each group to find the shortest path to deliver papers to all their homes (as well as a couple of other sites). Since we couldnâ€™t have realistically large groups, we at least were able to add interest and complexity by ensuring that each group contained a mixture of Weston and Boston students. Thereâ€™s no perfect general solution, but we were able to compare different options.