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In this paper we present the implementation of a branch-and-cut algorithm for solving Steiner tree problems in graphs. Our algorithm is based on an integer programming formulation for directed graphs and comprises preprocessing, separation algorithms and primal heuristics. We are able to solve all problem instances discussed in literature to optimality, including one to our knowledge not yet solved problem. We also report on our computational experiences with some very large Steiner tree problems arising from the design of electronic circuits. All test problems are gathered in a newly introduced library called {\em SteinLib} that is accessible via World Wide Web.

In this article we study the problem of designing a nation-wide communication network. Such networks usually consist of an access layer, a backbone layer, and maybe several intermediate layers. The nodes of each layer must be connected to those of the next layer in a tree-like fashion. The backbone layer has to satisfy certain survivability and routing constraints. Given the node locations, the demands between them, the possible connections and hardware configurations, and various other technical and administrational constraints, the goal is to decide, which node is assigned to which network level, how the nodes are connected, what hardware must be installed, and how traffic is routed in the backbone. Mixed integer linear programming models and solution methods are presented for both the access and the backbone network design problem. The focus is on the design of IP-over-SDH networks, but the access network design model and large parts of the backbone network design models are general and also applicable for other types of communication networks. Results obtained with these methods in the planning of the German research network are presented.

A model for the optimisation of the location and configuration of base stations in a UMTS network is described. The focus is primarily on modelling the configuration problem sufficiently accurate using mixed-integer variables and (essentially) linear constraints. These constraints reflect the limited downlink code capacity in each cell, the interference limitations for successful up- and downlink transmissions, the need for sufficiently strong (cell) pilot signals, and the potential gain for mobiles from being in soft(er) hand-over. It is also explained how to use the model as a basis for rating network configurations.

The final NETLIB-LP results
(2003)

The NETLIB has now served for 18 years as a repository of LP problem instances. From the beginning to the present day there was some uncertainness about the precise values of the optimal solutions. We implemented a program using exact rational arithmetic to compute proofs for the feasibility and optimality of an LP solution. This paper reports the \emph{exact} optimal objective values for all NETLIB problems.

In this article, we present a mathematical model and an algorithm to support one of the central strategic planning decisions of network operators: How to organize a large number of locations into a hierarchical network? We propose a solution approach that is based on mixed-integer programming and Lagrangian relaxation techniques. As major advantage, our approach provides not only solutions but also worst-case quality guarantees. Real-world scenarios with more than 750 locations have been solved within 30 minutes to less than 1\% off optimality.

The UMTS radio network planning problem poses the challenge of designing a cost-effective network that provides users with sufficient coverage and capacity. We describe an optimization model for this problem that is based on comprehensive planning data of the EU project MOMENTUM. We present heuristic mathematical methods for this realistic model, including computational results.

In this paper we present the {\em SteinLib}, a library of data sets for the Steiner tree problem in graphs. This library extends former libraries on Steiner tree problems by many new interesting and difficult instances, most of them arising from real-world applications. We give a survey on the difficulty of these problem instances by giving references to state-of-the-art software packages that were the first or are currently among the best to solve these instances.

The thesis deals with the implementation and application of out-of-the-box tools in linear and mixed integer programming. It documents the lessons learned and conclusions drawn from five years of implementing, maintaining, extending, and using several computer codes to solve real-life industrial problems. By means of several examples it is demonstrated how to apply algebraic modeling languages to rapidly devise mathematical models of real-world problems. It is shown that today's MIP solvers are capable of solving the resulting mixed integer programs, leading to an approach that delivers results very quickly. Even though, problems are tackled that not long ago required the implementation of specialized branch-and-cut algorithms. In the first part of the thesis the modeling language Zimpl is introduced. Chapter 2 contains a complete description of the language. In the subsequent chapter details of the implementation are described. Both theoretical and practical considerations are discussed. Aspects of software engineering, error prevention, and detection are addressed. In the second part several real-world projects are examined that employed the methodology and the tools developed in the first part. Chapter 4 presents three projects from the telecommunication industry dealing with facility location problems. Chapter 5 characterizes questions that arise in UMTS planning. Problems, models, and solutions are discussed. Special emphasis is put on the dependency of the precision of the input data and the results. Possible reasons for unexpected and undesirable solutions are explained. Finally, the Steiner tree packing problem in graphs, a well-known hard combinatorial problem, is revisited. A formerly known, but not yet used model is applied to combine switchbox wire routing and via minimization. All instances known from the literature are solved by this approach, as are some newly generated bigger problem instances.

ZIMPL User Guide
(2001)