Most heuristics for the Steiner tree problem in the Euclidean plane perform a series of iterative improvements using the minimum spanning tree as an initial solution. We may therefore characterize them as local search heuristics. In this paper, we first give a survey of existing heuristic approaches from a local search perspective, by setting up solution spaces and neighbourhood structures. Secondly, we present a new general local search approach which is based on a list of full Steiner trees constructed in a preprocessing phase. This list defines a solution space on which three neighbourhood structures are proposed and evaluated. Computational results show that this new approach is very competitive from a cost–benefit point of view. Furthermore, it has the advantage of being easy to apply to the Steiner tree problem in other metric spaces and to obstacle avoiding variants.
- local search
- Steiner trees