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23-15

It has been shown that any 9 by 9 Sudoku puzzle must contain at least 17 clues to have a unique solution. This paper investigates the more specific question: given a particular completed Sudoku grid, what is the minimum number of clues in any puzzle whose unique solution is the given grid? We call this problem the Minimum Sudoku Clue Problem (MSCP). We formulate MSCP as a binary bilevel linear program, present a class of globally valid inequalities, and provide a computational study on 50 MSCP instances of 9 by 9 Sudoku grids. Using a general bilevel solver, we solve 95\% of instances to optimality, and show that the solution process benefits from the addition of a moderate amount of inequalities. Finally, we extend the proposed model to other combinatorial problems in which uniqueness of the solution is of interest.

23-10

Existing planning approaches for onshore wind farm siting and network integration often do not meet minimum cost solutions or social and environmental considerations. In this paper, we develop an approach for the multi-objective optimization of turbine locations and their network connection using a Quota Steiner tree problem. Applying a novel transformation on a known directed cut formulation, reduction techniques, and heuristics, we design an exact solver that makes large problem instances solvable and outperforms generic MIP solvers. Although our case studies in selected regions of Germany show large trade-offs between the objective criteria of cost and landscape impact, small burdens on one criterion can significantly improve the other criteria. In addition, we demonstrate that contrary to many approaches for exclusive turbine siting, network integration must be simultaneously optimized in order to avoid excessive costs or landscape impacts in the course of a wind farm project. Our novel problem formulation and the developed solver can assist planners in decision making and help optimize wind farms in large regions in the future.

23-09

This paper is concerned with the exact solution of mixed-integer programs (MIPs) over the rational numbers, i.e., without any roundoff errors and error tolerances. Here, one computational bottleneck that should be avoided whenever possible is to employ large-scale symbolic computations. Instead it is often possible to use safe directed rounding methods, e.g., to generate provably correct dual bounds. In this work, we continue to leverage this paradigm and extend an exact branch-and-bound framework by separation routines for safe cutting planes, based on the approach first introduced by Cook, Dash, Fukasawa, and Goycoolea in 2009. Constraints are aggregated safely using approximate dual multipliers from an LP solve, followed by mixed-integer rounding to generate provably valid, although slightly weaker inequalities. We generalize this approach to problem data that is not representable in floating-point arithmetic, add routines for controlling the encoding length of the resulting cutting planes, and show how these cutting planes can be verified according to the VIPR certificate standard. Furthermore, we analyze the performance impact of these cutting planes in the context of an exact MIP framework, showing that we can solve 21.5% more instances and reduce solving times by 26.8% on the MIPLIB 2017 benchmark test set.

23-08

Globally optimal free flight trajectory optimization can be achieved with a combination of discrete and continuous optimization. A key requirement is that Newton's method for continuous optimization converges in a sufficiently large neighborhood around a minimizer. We show in this paper that, under certain assumptions, this is the case.

23-07

One of the fundamental problems in neurobiological research is to understand how neural circuits generate behaviors in response to sensory stimuli. Elucidating such neural circuits requires anatomical and functional information about the neurons that are active during the processing of the sensory information and generation of the respective response, as well as an identification of the connections between these neurons. With modern imaging techniques, both morphological properties of individual neurons as well as functional information related to sensory processing, information integration and behavior can be obtained. Given the resulting information, neurobiologists are faced with the task of identifying the anatomical structures down to individual neurons that are linked to the studied behavior and the processing of the respective sensory stimuli. Here, we present a novel interactive tool that assists neurobiologists in the aforementioned task by allowing them to extract hypothetical neural circuits constrained by anatomical and functional data. Our approach is based on two types of structural data: brain regions that are anatomically or functionally defined, and morphologies of individual neurons.
Both types of structural data are interlinked and augmented with additional information. The presented tool allows the expert user to identify neurons using Boolean queries. The interactive formulation of these queries is supported by linked views, using, among other things, two novel 2D abstractions of neural circuits.
The approach was validated in two case studies investigating the neural basis of vision-based behavioral responses in zebrafish larvae. Despite this particular application, we believe that the presented tool will be of general interest for exploring hypotheses about neural circuits in other species, genera and taxa.

23-06

Introducing TimPassLib -- A library for integrated periodic timetabling and passenger routing
(2023)

Classic models to derive a timetable for public transport often face a chicken-and-egg situation: A good timetable should offer passengers routes with small travel times, but the route choice of passengers depends on the timetable. While models that fix passenger routes were frequently considered in the literature, integrated models that simultaneously optimize timetables and passenger routes have seen increasing attention lately. This creates a growing need for a set of instances that allows to test and compare new algorithmic developments for the integrated problem. Our paper addresses this requirement by presenting TimPassLib, a new benchmark library of instances for integrated periodic timetabling and passenger routing.

23-05

The optimization of periodic timetables is an indispensable planning task in public transport. Although the periodic event scheduling problem (PESP) provides an elegant mathematical formulation of the periodic timetabling problem that led to many insights for primal heuristics, it is notoriously hard to solve to optimality. One reason is that for the standard mixed-integer linear programming formulations, linear programming relaxations are weak and the integer variables are of pure technical nature and in general do not correlate with the objective value. While the first problem has been addressed by developing several families of cutting planes, we focus on the second aspect. We discuss integral forward cycle bases as a concept to compute improved dual bounds for PESP instances. To this end, we develop the theory of forward cycle bases on general digraphs. Specifically for the application of timetabling, we devise a generic procedure to construct line-based event-activity networks, and give a simple recipe for an integral forward cycle basis on such networks. Finally, we analyze the 16 railway instances of the benchmark library PESPlib, match them to the line-based structure and use forward cycle bases to compute better dual bounds for 14 out of the 16 instances.

23-02

Consolidation of commodities and coordination of vehicle routes are fundamental features of supply chain management problems. While locations for consolidation and coordination are typically known a priori, in adaptive transportation networks this is not the case. The identification of such consolidation locations forms part of the decision making process. Supply chain management problems integrating the designation of consolidation locations with the coordination of long haul and local vehicle routing is not only challenging to solve, but also very difficult to formulate mathematically. In this paper, the first mathematical model integrating location clustering with long haul and local vehicle routing is proposed. This mathematical formulation is used to develop algorithms to find high quality solutions. A novel parallel framework is developed that combines exact and heuristic methods to improve the search for high quality solutions and provide valid bounds. The results demonstrate that using exact methods to guide heuristic search is an effective approach to find high quality solutions for difficult supply chain management problems.

23-04

We study the solution of the rolling stock rotation problem with predictive maintenance (RSRP-PM) by an iterative refinement approach that is based on a state-expanded event-graph. In this graph, the states are parameters of a failure distribution, and paths correspond to vehicle rotations with associated health state approximations. An optimal set of paths including maintenance can be computed by solving an integer linear program. Afterwards, the graph is refined and the procedure repeated. An associated linear program gives rise to a lower bound that can be used to determine the solution quality. Computational results for two instances derived from real world timetables of a German railway company are presented. The results show the effectiveness of the approach and the quality of the solutions.

23-01

For over ten years, the constraint integer programming framework SCIP has been extended by capabilities for the solution of convex and nonconvex mixed-integer nonlinear programs (MINLPs). With the recently published version~8.0, these capabilities have been largely reworked and extended. This paper discusses the motivations for recent changes and provides an overview of features that are particular to MINLP solving in SCIP. Further, difficulties in benchmarking global MINLP solvers are discussed and a comparison with several state-of-the-art global MINLP solvers is provided.