Recent studies on a computationally hard visual optimization problem, the Traveling Salesperson Problem (TSP), indicate that humans are capable of finding close to optimal solutions in near-linear time. The current study is a preliminary step in investigating human performance on another hard problem, the Minimum Vertex Cover Problem, in which solvers attempt to find a smallest set of vertices that ensures that every edge in an undirected graph is incident with at least one of the selected vertices. We identify appropriate measures of performance, examine features of problem instances that impact performance, and describe strategies typically employed by participants to solve instances of the Vertex Cover problem.
Carruthers, Sarah; Masson, Michael E. J.; and Stege, Ulrike
"Human Performance on Hard Non-Euclidean Graph Problems: Vertex Cover,"
The Journal of Problem Solving:
1, Article 5.