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The Coolest Path Problem
(2009)

We introduce the coolest path problem, which is a mixture of two well-known problems from distinct mathematical fields. One of them is the shortest path problem from combinatorial optimization. The other is the heat conduction problem from the field of partial differential equations. Together, they make up a control problem, where some geometrical object traverses a digraph in an optimal way, with constraints on intermediate or the final state. We discuss some properties of the problem and present numerical solution techniques. We demonstrate that the problem can be formulated as a linear mixed-integer program. Numerical solutions can thus be achieved within one hour for instances with up to 70 nodes in the graph.

The development of mathematical simulation and optimization models and algorithms for solving gas transport problems is an active field of research. In order to test and compare these models and algorithms, gas network instances together with demand data are needed. The goal of GasLib is to provide a set of publicly available gas network instances that can be used by researchers in the field of gas transport. The advantages are that researchers save time by using these instances and that different models and algorithms can be compared on the same specified test sets. The library instances are encoded in an XML format. In this paper, we explain this format and present the instances that are available in the library.

The Coolest Path Problem
(2010)

In 2005 the European Union liberalized the gas market with a disruptive change and decoupled trading of natural gas from its transport. The gas is now transported by independent so-called transmissions system operators or TSOs. The market model established by the European Union views the gas transmission network as a black box, providing shippers (gas traders and consumers) the opportunity to transport gas from any entry to any exit. TSOs are required to offer the maximum possible capacities at each entry and exit such that any resulting gas flow can be realized by the network. The revenue from selling these capacities more than one billion Euro in Germany alone, but overestimating the capacity might compromise the security of supply. Therefore, evaluating the available transport capacities is extremely important to the TSOs.
This is a report on a large project in mathematical optimization, set out to develop a new toolset for evaluating gas network capacities. The goals and the challenges as they occurred in the project are described, as well as the developments and design decisions taken to meet the requirements.

In this article we investigate methods to solve a fundamental task in gas transportation, namely the validation of nomination problem: Given a gas transmission network consisting of passive pipelines and active, controllable elements and given an amount of gas at every entry and exit point of the network, find operational settings for all active elements such that there exists a network state meeting all physical, technical, and legal constraints.
We describe a two-stage approach to solve the resulting complex and numerically difficult feasibility problem. The first phase consists of four distinct algorithms applying linear, and methods for complementarity constraints to compute possible settings for the discrete decisions. The second phase employs a precise continuous programming model of the gas network. Using this setup, we are able to compute high quality solutions to real-world industrial instances that are significantly larger than networks that have appeared in the mathematical programming literature before.

In 2005 the European Union liberalized the gas market with a disruptive change
and decoupled trading of natural gas from its transport. The gas is now trans-
ported by independent so-called transmissions system operators or TSOs. The
market model established by the European Union views the gas transmission
network as a black box, providing shippers (gas traders and consumers) the
opportunity to transport gas from any entry to any exit. TSOs are required
to offer the maximum possible capacities at each entry and exit such that any
resulting gas flow can be realized by the network. The revenue from selling these
capacities more than one billion Euro in Germany alone, but overestimating the
capacity might compromise the security of supply. Therefore, evaluating the
available transport capacities is extremely important to the TSOs.
This is a report on a large project in mathematical optimization, set out
to develop a new toolset for evaluating gas network capacities. The goals and
the challenges as they occurred in the project are described, as well as the
developments and design decisions taken to meet the requirements.