Team, Visitors, External Collaborators
Overall Objectives
Research Program
Application Domains
Highlights of the Year
New Software and Platforms
New Results
Bilateral Contracts and Grants with Industry
Partnerships and Cooperations
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Section: Research Program


An hierarchical approach to tackle complex combinatorial problems consists in considering separately different substructures (subproblems). If one is able to implement relatively efficient optimization on the substructures, this can be exploited to reformulate the global problem as a selection of specific subproblem solutions that together form a global solution. If the subproblems correspond to subset of constraints in the MIP formulation, this leads to Dantzig-Wolfe decomposition. If it corresponds to isolating a subset of decision variables, this leads to Bender's decomposition. Both lead to extended formulations of the problem with either a huge number of variables or constraints. Dantzig-Wolfe approach requires specific algorithmic approaches to generate subproblem solutions and associated global decision variables dynamically in the course of the optimization. This procedure is known as column generation, while its combination with branch-and-bound enumeration is called branch-and-price. Alternatively, in Bender's approach, when dealing with exponentially many constraints in the reformulation, the cutting plane procedures that we defined in the previous section are well-suited tools. When optimization on a substructure is (relatively) easy, there often exists a tight reformulation of this substructure typically in an extended variable space. This gives rise powerful reformulation of the global problem, although it might be impractical given its size (typically pseudo-polynomial). It can be possible to project (part of) the extended formulation in a smaller dimensional space if not the original variable space to bring polyhedral insight (cuts derived through polyhedral studies can often be recovered through such projections).