cutting stock problem

(classic problem)

Definition: Find the best arrangement of shapes on rectangles to minimize waste or the number of rectangles. This is a two-dimensional variant of the bin packing problem. It is NP-complete.

Specialization (... is a kind of me.)
strip packing is a one-dimensional variant.

See also knapsack problem, optimization problem.

Note: This problem arises often in manufacturing. For instance, deciding how to cut pieces for pants from cloth or shapes from sheet metal.

Author: PEB

Go to the Dictionary of Algorithms and Data Structures home page.

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Entry modified 27 April 2009.
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Cite this as:
Paul E. Black, "cutting stock problem", in Dictionary of Algorithms and Data Structures [online], Paul E. Black, ed. 27 April 2009. (accessed TODAY) Available from: