Journal article

Phase transition in the knapsack problem

Nitin Yadav, Carsten Murawski, Sebastian Sardina, Peter Bossaerts

arXiv | Cornell University Press | Published : 2019


We examine the phase transition phenomenon for the Knapsack problem from both a computational and a human perspective. We first provide, via an empirical and a theoretical analysis, a characterization of the phenomenon in terms of two instance properties; normalised capacity and normalised profit. Then, we show evidence that average time spent by human decision makers in solving an instance peaks near the phase transition. Given the ubiquity of the Knapsack problem in every-day life, a better understanding of its structure can improve our understanding not only of computational techniques but also of human behavior, including the use and development of heuristics and occurrence of biases.