## 90C57 Polyhedral combinatorics, branch-and-bound, branch-and-cut

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- polyhedral combinatorics (7)
- mixed-integer programming (6)
- integer programming (5)
- branching rule (4)
- mixed integer programming (4)
- stable set polytope (4)
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Branch-and-bound methods for mixed-integer programming (MIP) are traditionally based on solving a linear programming (LP) relaxation and branching on a variable which takes a fractional value in the (single) computed relaxation optimum. In this paper, we study branching strategies for mixed-integer programs that exploit the knowledge of multiple alternative optimal solutions (a cloud ) of the current LP relaxation. These strategies naturally extend common methods like most infeasible branching, strong branching, pseudocost branching, and their hybrids, but we also propose a novel branching rule called cloud diameter branching. We show that dual degeneracy, a requirement for alternative LP optima, is present for many instances from common MIP test sets. Computational experiments show significant improvements in the quality of branching decisions as well as reduced branching effort when using our modifications of existing branching rules. We discuss different ways to generate a cloud of solutions and present extensive computational results showing that through a careful implementation, cloud modifications can speed up full strong branching by more than 10 % on standard test sets. Additionally, by exploiting degeneracy, we are also able to improve the state-of-the-art hybrid branching rule and reduce the solving time on affected instances by almost 20 % on average.

Branching rules are an integral component of the branch-and-bound algorithm typically used to solve mixed-integer programs and subject to intense research. Different approaches for branching are typically compared based on the solving time as well as the size of the branch-and-bound tree needed to prove optimality. The latter, however, has some flaws when it comes to sophisticated branching rules that do not only try to take a good branching decision, but have additional side-effects. We propose a new measure for the quality of a branching rule that distinguishes tree size reductions obtained by better branching decisions from those obtained by such side-effects. It is evaluated for common branching rules providing new insights in the importance of strong branching.

In mixed-integer programming, the branching rule is a key component to a fast convergence of the branch-and-bound algorithm. The most common strategy is to branch on simple disjunctions that split the domain of a single integer variable into two disjoint intervals. Multi-aggregation is a presolving step that replaces variables by an affine linear sum of other variables, thereby reducing the problem size. While this simplification typically improves the performance of MIP solvers, it also restricts the degree of freedom in variable-based branching rules.
We present a novel branching scheme that tries to overcome the above drawback by considering general disjunctions defined by multi-aggregated variables in addition to the standard disjunctions based on single variables. This natural idea results in a hybrid between variable- and constraint-based branching rules. Our implementation within the constraint integer programming framework SCIP incorporates this into a full strong branching rule and reduces the number of branch-and-bound nodes on a general test set of publicly available benchmark instances. For a specific class of problems, we show that the solving time decreases significantly.

In this article we describe the impact from embedding a 15 year old model for solving the Steiner tree problem in graphs in a state-of-the-art MIP-Framework, making the result run in a massively parallel environment and extending the model to solve as many variants as possible. We end up with a high-perfomance solver that is capable of solving previously unsolved instances and, in contrast to its predecessor, is freely available for academic research.

The set packing problem, sometimes also called the stable set problem, is a well-known NP-hard problem in combinatorial optimization with a wide range of applications and an interesting polyhedral structure, that has been the subject of intensive study. We contribute to this field by showing how, employing cliques, odd set inequalities for the matching problem can be generalized to valid inequalities for the set packing polytope with a clear combinatorial meaning.

One of the essential components of a branch-and-bound based mixed-integer linear programming (MIP) solver is the branching rule. Strong branching is a method used by many state-of-the-art branching rules to select the variable to branch on. It precomputes the dual bounds of potential child nodes by solving auxiliary linear programs (LPs) and thereby helps to take good branching decisions that lead to a small search tree. In this paper, we describe how these dual bound predictions can be improved by including domain propagation into strong branching. Domain propagation is a technique usually used at every node of the branch-and-bound tree to tighten the local domains of variables. Computational experiments on standard MIP instances indicate that our improved strong branching method significantly improves the quality of the predictions and causes almost no additional effort. For a full strong branching rule, we are able to obtain substantial reductions of the branch-and-bound tree size as well as the solving time. Moreover, also the state-of-the-art hybrid branching rule can be improved this way.
This paper extends previous work by the author published in the proceedings of the CPAIOR 2013.

This is a technical report for the SCIP constraint handler cons_bivariate. We describe a cut-generation algorithm for a class of bivariate twice continuously differentiable functions with
fixed convexity behavior over a box.
Computational results comparing our cut-generation algorithms with
state-of-the-art global
optimization software on a series of randomly generated test instances are reported and discussed.

Cloud branching
(2013)

Branch-and-bound methods for mixed-integer programming (MIP) are traditionally based on solving a linear programming (LP) relaxation and branching on a variable which takes a fractional value in the (single) computed relaxation optimum. In this paper we study branching strategies for mixed-integer programs that exploit the knowledge of multiple alternative optimal solutions (a cloud) of the current LP relaxation. These strategies naturally extend state-of-the-art methods like strong branching, pseudocost branching, and their hybrids.
We show that by exploiting dual degeneracy, and thus multiple alternative optimal solutions, it is possible to enhance traditional methods. We present preliminary computational results, applying the newly proposed strategy to full strong branching, which is known to be the MIP branching rule leading to the fewest number of search nodes. It turns out that cloud branching can reduce the mean running time by up to 30% on standard test sets.

We present an exact rational solver for mixed-integer linear programming that avoids the numerical inaccuracies inherent in the floating-point computations used by existing software. This allows the solver to be used for establishing theoretical results and in applications where correct solutions are critical due to legal and financial consequences. Our solver is a hybrid symbolic/numeric implementation of LP-based branch-and-bound, using numerically-safe methods for all binding computations in the search tree. Computing provably accurate solutions by dynamically choosing the fastest of several safe dual bounding methods depending on the structure of the instance, our exact solver is only moderately slower than an inexact floating-point branch-and-bound solver. The software is incorporated into the SCIP optimization framework, using the exact LP solver QSopt_ex and the GMP arithmetic library. Computational results are presented for a suite of test instances taken from the MIPLIB and Mittelmann libraries and for a new collection of numerically difficult instances.

In this paper, we study self-avoiding walks of a given length on a graph. We consider a formulation of this problem as a binary linear program. We analyze the polyhedral structure of the underlying polytope and describe valid inequalities. Proofs for their facial properties for certain special cases are given. In a variation of this problem one is interested in optimal configurations, where an energy function measures the benefit if certain path elements are placed on adjacent vertices of the graph. The most prominent application of this problem is the protein folding problem in biochemistry. On a set of selected instances, we demonstrate the computational merits of our approach.