# Modeling the Round (Nearest Integer) function

Modeling various non-differentiable functions is quite common knowledge including $$\operatorname{abs}$$, $$\min$$ and $$\max$$ functions. How would one go about modeling the nearest integer function, say in an inequality constraint $$\lfloor{x}\rceil \leq C$$?

• Do you have a specific rounding rule in mind for .5 cases? The Wikipedia page on 'Nearest integer function' (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nearest_integer_function) says "On most computer implementations, the selected rule is to round half-integers to the nearest even integer" Oct 12 '19 at 20:51
• @DipayanBanerjee Yes, let's assume the nearest even integer rule for this example. Oct 12 '19 at 20:55
• Pardon the beginner's question of a passer-by, what does "modeling" mean in this context? Is it simply the process of expressing some transformation as an algebraic function? Oct 13 '19 at 19:24

This is a hack of Robert Schwarz's answer, to accommodate the "round .5 to even" rule. We introduce integer variable $$y$$ and binary variable $$z$$, along with the constraints $$2y+z \le x \le 2y + z + 1$$ and $$x + z - 0.5 \le C.$$ If $$x$$ is noninteger, the first constraint finds the nearest integers on either side. If the floor of $$x$$ is even (meaning a fraction of one half would round down), $$z=0$$ and we require that $$x - 0.5 \le C$$. If the floor of $$x$$ is odd (meaning a fraction of one half would round up), $$z=1$$ and we require that $$x + 0.5 \le C$$.

There is an ambiguity when $$x$$ is integer. For instance, if $$x = 3$$, both $$(y,z)=(1,1)$$ and $$(y,z)=(1,0)$$ satisfy the constraint. Fortunately, the solver will bail us out: if it "wants" to have $$x=3$$ be feasible (and if $$C=3$$), it will choose $$(y,z)=(1,0)$$, so that $$x=3=C$$ satisfies the second constraint.

Assuming finite bounds on $$x$$, this could be modeled with disjunctions on the many cases to which $$x$$ can be rounded.

For example, if $$x \in [ 0, 2 ]$$, we would have: $$\begin{cases} x \le 0.5, & 0 \le C \\ 0.5 \le x \le 1.5, & 1 \le C \\ 1.5 \le x , & 2 \le C \end{cases}$$

The disjunction itself could be modeled with auxiliary binary variables and big-$$M$$ constraints, for example.

Note that rounding in this context has some ambiguity, as a value of $$0.5$$ may be rounded either to $$0$$ or $$1$$, because strict inequalities can usually not be enforced by MIP solvers.

As an alternative solution, I propose to add an auxiliary integral variable $$y \in \mathbb{Z}$$ that should play the role of the rounded $$x$$.

For your example of the inequality, I would add: $$\begin{array}{rll} y &\le& C \\ x - 0.5&\le& y \end{array}$$

• This is close, but trips over the "round-to-even" rule. We can assume that $C$ is integer. Suppose that $C=3$. $x=3.5$, $y=3$ satisfies both inequalities, but $\left\lceil x\right\rfloor =4$. Oct 12 '19 at 22:35

Assuming that the value $$C + 0.5$$ is valid, you could model this by simply adding the constraint

$$x \leq C + 0.5$$

Otherwise, you define a constant say $$\epsilon = 10^{-7}$$ and do

$$x \leq C + 0.5 - \epsilon$$