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Published June 1996 | public
Journal Article

Two measures of difficulty

Page, Scott E.


The paper constructs two measures of difficulty for functions defined over binary strings. The first of these measures,cover size, captures the difficulty of solving a problem in parallel. The second measure,ascent size, captures the difficulty of solving a problem sequentially. We show how these measures can help us to better understand the performance of genetic algorithms and simulated annealing, two widely used search algorithms. We also show how disparities in these two measures may shed light on the organizational structure of firms.

Additional Information

© 1996 Springer-Verlag. This paper has benefited from comments by seminar participants the NBER\CEME Decentralization Conference, UC-Irvine, and UC-San Diego. The author would like to thank Stan Reiter for his guidance and for his many suggestions in helping refine the concepts developed in this paper. Art Devany, Gordon Green, Jim Jordan, Nick Vriend, and an anonymous referee made helpful comments on earlier versions of this paper.

Additional details

August 18, 2023
October 17, 2023