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Parallelization of the FICO Xpress Optimizer

  • Computing hardware has mostly thrashed out the physical limits for speeding up individual computing cores. Consequently, the main line of progress for new hardware is growing the number of computing cores within a single CPU. This makes the study of efficient parallelization schemes for computation-intensive algorithms more and more important. A natural precondition to achieving reasonable speedups from parallelization is maintaining a high workload of the available computational resources. At the same time, reproducibility and reliability are key requirements for software that is used in industrial applications. In this paper, we present the new parallelization concept for the state-of-the-art MIP solver FICO Xpress-Optimizer. MIP solvers like Xpress are expected to be deterministic. This inevitably results in synchronization latencies which render the goal of a satisfying workload a challenge in itself. We address this challenge by following a partial information approach and separating the concepts of simultaneous tasks and independent threads from each other. Our computational results indicate that this leads to a much higher CPU workload and thereby to an improved, almost linear, scaling on modern high-performance CPUs. As an added value, the solution path that Xpress takes is not only deterministic in a fixed environment, but also, to a certain extent, thread-independent. This paper is an extended version of Berthold et al. [Parallelization of the FICO Xpress-Optimizer, in Mathematical Software – ICMS 2016: 5th International Conference, G.-M. Greuel, T. Koch, P. Paule, and A. Sommere, eds., Springer International Publishing, Berlin, 2016, pp. 251–258] containing more detailed technical descriptions, illustrative examples and updated computational results.

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Author:Timo BertholdORCiD, James Farmer, Stefan Heinz, Michael Perregaard
Document Type:Article
Parent Title (English):Optimization Methods and Software
First Page:518
Last Page:529
Year of first publication:2018
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