The tree manager's primary job is to control the execution of the algorithm by deciding which candidate node should be chosen as the next to be processed. This is done using either one of several built-in rules or a user-defined rule. Usually, the goal of the search strategy is to minimize overall running time, but it is sometimes also important to find good feasible solutions early in the search process. In general, there are two ways to decrease running time--either by decreasing the size of the search tree or by decreasing the time needed to process each search tree node.
To minimize the size of the search tree, the strategy is to select consistently that candidate node with the smallest associated lower bound. In theory, this strategy, sometimes called best-first, will lead the smallest possible search tree. However, we need to consider the time required to process each search tree node as well. This is affected by both the quality of the current upper bound and by such factors as communication overhead and node set-up costs. When considering these additional factors, it is sometimes be more effective to deviate from the best-first search order. We discuss the importance of such strategies below.