We present a structure-conveying algebraicmodelling language formathematical programming. The proposed language extends AMPL with object-oriented features that allows the user to construct models from sub-models, and is implemented as a combination of pre- and post-processing phases for AMPL. Unlike traditional modelling languages, the new approach does not scramble the block structure of the problem, and thus it enables the passing of this structure on to the solver. Interior point solvers that exploit block linear algebra and decomposition-based solvers can therefore directly take advantage of the problem’s structure. The language contains features to conveniently model stochastic programming problems, although it is designed with a much broader application spectrum.

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Branching variable selection can greatly affect the effectiveness and efficiency of a branch-and-bound algorithm. Traditional approaches to branching variable selection rely on estimating the effect of the candidate variables on the objective function. We propose an approach which is empowered by exploiting the information contained in a family of fathomed subproblems, collected beforehand from an incomplete branch-and-bound tree. In particular, we use this information to define new branching rules that reduce the risk of incurring inappropriate branchings. We provide computational results that demonstrate the effectiveness of the new branching rules on various benchmark instances.

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We propose a method for support vector machine classification using indefinite kernels. Instead of directly minimizing or stabilizing a nonconvex loss function, our algorithm simultaneously computes support vectors and a proxy kernel matrix used in forming the loss. This can be interpreted as a penalized kernel learning problem where indefinite kernel matrices are treated as noisy observations of a true Mercer kernel. Our formulation keeps the problem convex and relatively large problems can be solved efficiently using the projected gradient or analytic center cutting plane methods. We compare the performance of our technique with other methods on several standard data sets.

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Local search with k-exchange neighborhoods, k-opt, is the most widely used heuristic method for the traveling salesman problem (TSP). This paper presents an effective implementation of k-opt in LKH-2, a variant of the Lin–Kernighan TSP heuristic. The effectiveness of the implementation is demonstrated with experiments on Euclidean instances ranging from 10,000 to 10,000,000 cities. The runtime of the method increases almost linearly with the problem size. LKH-2 is free of charge for academic and non-commercial use and can be downloaded in source code.

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Lift-and-project cuts for mixed integer programs (MIP), derived from a disjunction on an integer-constrained fractional variable, were originally (Balas et al. in Math program 58:295–324, 1993) generated by solving a higher-dimensional cut generating linear program (CGLP). Later, a correspondence established (Balas and Perregaard in Math program 94:221–245, 2003) between basic feasible solutions to the CGLP and basic (not necessarily feasible) solutions to the linear programming relaxation LP of the MIP, has made it possible to mimic the process of solving the CGLP through certain pivots in the LP tableau guaranteed to improve the CGLP objective function. This has also led to an alternative interpretation of lift-and-project (L&P) cuts, as mixed integer Gomory cuts from various (in general neither primal nor dual feasible) LP tableaus, guaranteed to be stronger than the one from the optimal tableau. In this paper we analyze the relationship between a pivot in the LP tableau and the (unique) corresponding block pivot (sequence of pivots) in the CGLP tableau. Namely, we show how a single pivot in the LP defines a sequence (potentially as long as the number of variables) of pivots in the CGLP, and we identify this sequence. Also, we give a new procedure for finding in a given LP tableau a pivot that produces the maximum improvement in the CGLP objective (which measures the amount of violation of the resulting cut by the current LP solution). Further, we introduce a procedure called
iterative disjunctive modularization. In the standard procedure, pivoting in the LP tableau optimizes the multipliers with which the inequalities on each side of the disjunction are weighted in the resulting cut. Once this solution has been obtained, a strengthening step is applied that uses the integrality constraints (if any) on the variables on each side of the disjunction to improve the cut coefficients by choosing optimal values for the elements of a certain monoid. Iterative disjunctive modularization is a procedure for approximating the simultaneous optimization of both the continuous multipliers and the integer elements of the monoid. All this is discussed in the context of a CGLP with a more general normalization constraint than the standard one used in (Balas and Perregaard in Math program 94:221–245, 2003), and the expressions that describe the above mentioned correspondence are accordingly generalized. Finally, we summarize our extensive computational experience with the above procedures.

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Finding a feasible solution of a given mixed-integer programming (MIP) model is a very important NP-complete problem that can be extremely hard in practice. Feasibility Pump (FP) is a heuristic scheme for finding a feasible solution to general MIPs that can be viewed as a clever way to round a sequence of fractional solutions of the LP relaxation, until a feasible one is eventually found. In this paper we study the effect of replacing the original rounding function (which is fast and simple, but somehow blind) with more clever rounding heuristics. In particular, we investigate the use of a diving-like procedure based on rounding and constraint propagation—a basic tool in Constraint Programming. Extensive computational results on binary and general integer MIPs from the literature show that the new approach produces a substantial improvement of the FP success rate, without slowing-down the method and with a significantly better quality of the feasible solutions found.

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Constraint integer programming (CIP) is a novel paradigm which integrates constraint programming (CP), mixed integer programming (MIP), and satisfiability (SAT) modeling and solving techniques. In this paper we discuss the software framework and solver SCIP (Solving Constraint Integer Programs), which is free for academic and non-commercial use and can be downloaded in source code.

This paper gives an overview of the main design concepts of SCIP and how it can be used to solve constraint integer programs. To illustrate the performance and flexibility of SCIP, we apply it to two different problem classes. First, we consider mixed integer programming and show by computational experiments that SCIP is almost competitive to specialized commercial MIP solvers, even though SCIP supports the more general constraint integer programming paradigm. We develop new ingredients that improve current MIP solving technology.

As a second application, we employ SCIP to solve chip design verification problems as they arise in the logic design of integrated circuits. This application goes far beyond traditional MIP solving, as it includes several highly non-linear constraints, which can be handled nicely within the constraint integer programming framework. We show anecdotally how the different solving techniques from MIP, CP, and SAT work together inside SCIP to deal with such constraint classes. Finally, experimental results show that our approach outperforms current state-of-the-art techniques for proving the validity of properties on circuits containing arithmetic.

This paper gives an overview of the main design concepts of SCIP and how it can be used to solve constraint integer programs. To illustrate the performance and flexibility of SCIP, we apply it to two different problem classes. First, we consider mixed integer programming and show by computational experiments that SCIP is almost competitive to specialized commercial MIP solvers, even though SCIP supports the more general constraint integer programming paradigm. We develop new ingredients that improve current MIP solving technology.

As a second application, we employ SCIP to solve chip design verification problems as they arise in the logic design of integrated circuits. This application goes far beyond traditional MIP solving, as it includes several highly non-linear constraints, which can be handled nicely within the constraint integer programming framework. We show anecdotally how the different solving techniques from MIP, CP, and SAT work together inside SCIP to deal with such constraint classes. Finally, experimental results show that our approach outperforms current state-of-the-art techniques for proving the validity of properties on circuits containing arithmetic.

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We describe a new implementation of the Edmonds’s algorithm for computing a perfect matching of minimum cost, to which we refer as Blossom V. A key feature of our implementation is a combination of two ideas that were shown to be effective for this problem: the “variable dual updates” approach of Cook and Rohe (INFORMS J Comput 11(2):138–148, 1999) and the use of priority queues. We achieve this by maintaining an auxiliary graph whose nodes correspond to alternating trees in the Edmonds’s algorithm. While our use of priority queues does not improve the worst-case complexity, it appears to lead to an efficient technique. In the majority of our tests Blossom V outperformed previous implementations of Cook and Rohe (INFORMS J Comput 11(2):138–148, 1999) and Mehlhorn and Schäfer (J Algorithmics Exp (JEA) 7:4, 2002), sometimes by an order of magnitude. We also show that for large VLSI instances it is beneficial to update duals by solving a linear program, contrary to a conjecture by Cook and Rohe.

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In this paper, a methodology for testing the accuracy and strength of cut generators for mixed-integer linear programming is presented. The procedure amounts to random diving towards a feasible solution, recording several kinds of failures. This allows for a ranking of the accuracy of the generators. Then, for generators deemed to have similar accuracy, statistical tests are performed to compare their relative strength. An application on eight Gomory cut generators and six Reduce-and-Split cut generators is given. The problem of constructing benchmark instances for which feasible solutions can be obtained is also addressed.

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