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Cut selection is a subroutine used in all modern mixed-integer linear programming solvers with the goal of selecting a subset of generated cuts that induce optimal solver performance. These solvers have millions of parameter combinations, and so are excellent candidates for parameter tuning. Cut selection scoring rules are usually weighted sums of different measurements, where the weights are parameters. We present a parametric family of mixed-integer linear programs together with infinitely many family-wide valid cuts. Some of these cuts can induce integer optimal solutions directly after being applied, while others fail to do so even if an infinite amount are applied. We show for a specific cut selection rule, that any finite grid search of the parameter space will always miss all parameter values, which select integer optimal inducing cuts in an infinite amount of our problems. We propose a variation on the design of existing graph convolutional neural networks, adapting them to learn cut selection rule parameters. We present a reinforcement learning framework for selecting cuts, and train our design using said framework over MIPLIB 2017. Our framework and design show that adaptive cut selection does substantially improve performance over a diverse set of instances, but that finding a single function describing such a rule is difficult. Code for reproducing all experiments is available at https://github.com/Opt-Mucca/Adaptive-Cutsel-MILP.

Cutting plane selection is a subroutine used in all modern mixed-integer linear programming solvers with the goal of selecting a subset of generated cuts that induce optimal solver performance. These solvers have millions of parameter combinations, and so are excellent candidates for parameter tuning. Cut selection scoring rules are usually weighted sums of different measurements, where the weights are parameters. We present a parametric family of mixed-integer linear programs together with infinitely many family-wide valid cuts. Some of these cuts can induce integer optimal solutions directly after being applied, while others fail to do so even if an infinite amount are applied. We show for a specific cut selection rule, that any finite grid search of the parameter space will always miss all parameter values, which select integer optimal inducing cuts in an infinite amount of our problems. We propose a variation on the design of existing graph convolutional neural networks, adapting them to learn cut selection rule parameters. We present a reinforcement learning framework for selecting cuts, and train our design using said framework over MIPLIB 2017 and a neural network verification data set. Our framework and design show that adaptive cut selection does substantially improve performance over a diverse set of instances, but that finding a single function describing such a rule is difficult. Code for reproducing all experiments is available at https://github.com/Opt-Mucca/Adaptive-Cutsel-MILP.

A decision support system relies on frequent re-solving of similar problem instances. While the general structure remains the same in corresponding applications, the input parameters are updated on a regular basis. We propose a generative neural network design for learning integer decision variables of mixed-integer linear programming (MILP) formulations of these problems. We utilise a deep neural network discriminator and a MILP solver as our oracle to train our generative neural network. In this article, we present the results of our design applied to the transient gas optimisation problem. With the trained network we produce a feasible solution in 2.5s, use it as a warm-start solution, and thereby decrease global optimal solution solve time by 60.5%.

Compressor stations are the heart of every high-pressure gas transport network.
Located at intersection areas of the network they are contained in huge complex plants, where they are in combination with valves and regulators responsible for routing and pushing the gas through the network.
Due to their complexity and lack of data compressor stations are usually dealt with in the scientific literature in a highly simplified and idealized manner.
As part of an ongoing project with one of Germany's largest Transmission System Operators to develop a decision support system for their dispatching center, we investigated how to automatize control of compressor stations. Each station has to be in a particular configuration, leading in combination with the other nearby elements to a discrete set of up to 2000 possible feasible operation modes in the intersection area.
Since the desired performance of the station changes over time, the configuration of the station has to adapt.
Our goal is to minimize the necessary changes in the overall operation modes and related elements over time, while fulfilling a preset performance envelope or demand scenario.
This article describes the chosen model and the implemented mixed integer programming based algorithms to tackle this challenge.
By presenting extensive computational results on real world data we demonstrate the performance of our approach.

A standard tool for modelling real-world optimisation problems is mixed-integer programming (MIP). However, for many of these problems there is either incomplete information describing variable relations, or the relations between variables are highly complex. To overcome both these hurdles, machine learning (ML) models are often used and embedded in the MIP as surrogate models to represent these relations. Due to the large amount of available ML frameworks, formulating ML models into MIPs is highly non-trivial. In this paper we propose a tool for the automatic MIP formulation of trained ML models, allowing easy integration of ML constraints into MIPs. In addition, we introduce a library of MIP instances with embedded ML constraints. The project is available at https://github.com/Opt-Mucca/PySCIPOpt-ML.

The current cut selection algorithm used in mixed-integer programming solvers has remained largely unchanged since its creation. In this paper, we propose a set of new cut scoring measures, cut filtering techniques, and stopping criteria, extending the current state-of-the-art algorithm and obtaining a 5\% performance improvement for SCIP over the MIPLIB 2017 benchmark set.

Mixed-Integer Linear Programming (MILP) is a ubiquitous and practical modelling paradigm that is essential for optimising a broad range of real-world systems. The backbone of all modern MILP solvers is the branch-and-cut algorithm, which is a hybrid of the branch-and-bound and cutting planes algorithms. Cutting planes (cuts) are linear inequalities that tighten the relaxation of a MILP. While a lot of research has gone into deriving valid cuts for MILPs, less emphasis has been put on determining which cuts to select. Cuts in general are generated in rounds, and a subset of the generated cuts must be added to the relaxation. The decision on which subset of cuts to add is called cut selection. This is a crucial task since adding too many cuts makes the relaxation large and slow to optimise over. Conversely, adding too few cuts results in an insufficiently tightened relaxation, and more relaxations need to be enumerated. To further emphasise the difficulty, the effectiveness of an applied cut is both dependent on the other applied cuts, and the state of the MILP solver. In this thesis, we present theoretical results on the importance and difficulty of cut selection, as well as practical results that use cut selection to improve general MILP solver performance. Improving general MILP solver performance is of great importance for practitioners and has many runoff effects. Reducing the solve time of currently solved systems can directly improve efficiency within the application area. In addition, improved performance enables larger systems to be modelled and optimised, and MILP to be used in areas where it was previously impractical due to time restrictions.
Each chapter of this thesis corresponds to a publication on cut selection, where the contributions of this thesis can naturally be divided into four components. The first two components are motivated by instance-dependent performance. In practice, for each subroutine, including cut selection, MILP solvers have adjustable parameters with hard-coded default values. It is ultimately unrealistic to expect these default values to perform well for every instance. Rather, it would be ideal if the parameters were dependent on the given instance. To show this motivation is well founded, we first introduce a family of parametric MILP instances and cuts to showcase worst-case performance of cut selection for any fixed parameter value. We then introduce a graph neural network architecture and reinforcement learning framework for learning instance-dependent cut scoring parameters. In the following component, we formalise language for determining if a cut has theoretical usefulness from a polyhedral point of view in relation to other cuts. In addition, to overcome issues of infeasible projections and dual degeneracy, we introduce analytic center based distance measures. We then construct a lightweight multi-output regression model that predicts relative solver performance of an instance for a set of distance measures. The final two components are motivated by general MILP solver improvement via cut selection. Such improvement was shown to be possible, albeit difficult to achieve, by the first half of this thesis. We relate branch-and-bound and cuts through their underlying disjunctions. Using a history of previously computed Gomory mixed-integer cuts, we reduce the solve time of SCIP over the 67% of affected MIPLIB 2017 instances by 4%. In the final component, we introduce new cut scoring measures and filtering methods based on information from other MILP solving processes. The new cut selection techniques reduce the solve time of SCIP over the 97% of affected MIPLIB 2017 instances by 5%.

Cutting planes are a crucial component of state-of-the-art mixed-integer programming solvers, with the choice of which subset of cuts to add being vital for solver performance. We propose new distance-based measures to qualify the value of a cut by quantifying the extent to which it separates relevant parts of the relaxed feasible set. For this purpose, we use the analytic centers of the relaxation polytope or of its optimal face, as well as alternative optimal solutions of the linear programming relaxation. We assess the impact of the choice of distance measure on root node performance and throughout the whole branch-and-bound tree, comparing our measures against those prevalent in the literature. Finally, by a multi-output regression, we predict the relative performance of each measure, using static features readily available before the separation process. Our results indicate that analytic center-based methods help to significantly reduce the number of branch-and-bound nodes needed to explore the search space and that our multiregression approach can further improve on any individual method.