Mathematical Programming Computation, Volume 5, Issue 4, December 2013

On the safety of Gomory cut generators

Gérard Cornuéjols, François Margot, Giacomo Nannicini

Gomory mixed-integer cuts are one of the key components in Branch-and-Cut solvers for mixed-integer linear programs. The textbook formula for generating these cuts is not used directly in open-source and commercial software that work in finite precision: Additional steps are performed to avoid the generation of invalid cuts due to the limited numerical precision of the computations. This paper studies the impact of some of these steps on the safety of Gomory mixed-integer cut generators. As the generation of invalid cuts is a relatively rare event, the experimental design for this study is particularly important. We propose an experimental setup that allows statistically significant comparisons of generators. We also propose a parameter optimization algorithm and use it to find a Gomory mixed-integer cut generator that is as safe as a benchmark cut generator from a commercial solver even though it generates many more cuts.

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