Groupe d’études et de recherche en analyse des décisions

G-2019-94

Smooth and flexible dual optimal inequalities

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We address the problem of accelerating column generation (CG) for set-covering formulations via dual optimal inequalities (DOI). DOI use knowledge of the dual solution space to derive inequalities that might be violated by intermediate solutions to a restricted master problem, and as such are efficient at reducing the number of iterations and the oscillations of the dual variables commonly observed in column generation procedures. We study two novel classes of DOI which are referred to as Flexible DOI (F-DOI) and Smooth-DOI (S-DOI), respectively (and jointly as SF-DOI). F-DOI provide rebates for covering items more than necessary. S-DOI describe the payment of a penalty to permit the under-coverage of items in exchange for the over-inclusion of other items. Unlike other classes of DOI from the literature, the S-DOI and F-DOI rely on very little to no problem-specific knowledge, and as such have the potential to be applied to a vast number of problem domains. In particular, we illustrate the efficiency of the new inequalities by embedding them within a column generation solver for the single source capacitated facility location problem (SSCFLP). A speed-up of a factor of up to 130\(\times\) can be observed as when compared to a non-stabilized variant of the same CG procedure to achieve the linear relaxation lower bound on problems with dense columns and structured assignments costs.

, 20 pages