We describe improvements to Smith's branch-and-bound (B&B) algorithm for the Euclidean Steiner problem in R^d. Nodes in the B&B tree correspond to full Steiner topologies associated with a subset of the terminal nodes, and branching is accomplished by "merging" a new terminal node with each edge in the current Steiner tree. For a given topology we use a conic formulation for the problem of locating the Steiner points to obtain a rigorous lower bound on the minimal tree length. We also show how to obtain lower bounds on the child problems at a given node without actually computing the minimal Steiner trees associated with the child topologies. These lower bounds reduce the number of children created and also permit the implementation of a "strong branching" strategy that varies the order in which terminal nodes are added. Computational results demonstrate substantial gains compared to Smith's original algorithm.
Dept. of Management Sciences, University of Iowa, Iowa City IA, 52242, March 2006.