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Designing Optimal Flow Networks

M. G. Volz, M. Brazil, K. J. Swanepoel, and D. A. Thomas
Arxiv ID: 0903.2124Last updated: 2/25/2020
We investigate the problem of designing a minimum cost flow network interconnecting n sources and a single sink, each with known locations and flows. The network may contain other unprescribed nodes, known as Steiner points. For concave increasing cost functions, a minimum cost network of this sort has a tree topology, and hence can be called a Minimum Gilbert Arborescence (MGA). We characterise the local topological structure of Steiner points in MGAs for linear cost functions. This problem has applications to the design of drains, gas pipelines and underground mine access.

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