Combinatorial optimization problems and metaheuristics: Review, challenges, design, and development

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In the past few decades, metaheuristics have demonstrated their suitability in addressing complex problems over different domains. This success drives the scientific community towards the definition of new and better-performing heuristics and results in an increased interest in this research field. Nevertheless, new studies have been focused on developing new algorithms without providing consolidation of the existing knowledge. Furthermore, the absence of rigor and formalism to classify, design, and develop combinatorial optimization problems and metaheuristics represents a challenge to the field’s progress. This study discusses the main concepts and challenges in this area and proposes a formalism to classify, design, and code combinatorial optimization problems and metaheuristics. We believe these contributions may support the progress of the field and increase the maturity of metaheuristics as problem solvers analogous to other machine learning algorithms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6449
Pages (from-to)1-39
Number of pages39
JournalApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2021


  • Combinatorial optimization problems
  • Framework
  • Metaheuristic
  • Standardization


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