The travel(l)ing salesman: a movie?

If you’re into advanced discrete math, you know all about the Traveling (in the U.S.) or Travelling (in other English-speaking countries) Salesman Problem.  If you aren’t, you don’t. I won’t attempt to summarize it here; just go read about it in Wikipedia (which unaccountably prefers the British spelling).

Whether you’ve read about it or not, you may be wondering how on earth anyone could make a movie about this advanced math problem. Doesn’t seem exactly Hollywood, does it? Unfortunately I can’t tell you much about it yet, as I haven’t had the chance to see it. And I clearly won’t be able to attend a showing next week, since it’s being held 3000 miles from the coast. (From the east coast, that is.) But plenty of people have apparently seen this movie, since IMDb says that 29 users have already rated it, maybe all from having seen it at the New York Film Festival. One amateur reviewer describes it as “Walking the Tightrope of Morality, Math + Science”:

“Travelling Salesman” is a film that one can watch repetitively, each time brainstorming more questions, more conundrums, more fractalizations of the eternal mysteries of life and existence and the evolution of human reasoning. This is the realm of the Best Art Has to Offer. Lanzone is a filmmaker — and artist — to surely watch, and follow. Simply unbelievably excellent filmmaking. This is a film to seek out — and it has earned its well-deserved place in the famous New York International Film Festival.

Not everyone is so enthusiastic, so I will have to see for myself. Then we can find out what it says about the famous math problem. “Fractalizations of the eternal mysteries of life and existence”? Sounds intriguing…


Categories: Math, Movies & (occasionally) TV, Teaching & Learning