I need to formulate a conditional constraint for a binary variable z defined as:

$z_{i,j,k}$, $\ \ i=1:10 \ , \ j=1:5 \ , \ k=1:3$

If any $z_{i,j,3} = 1$ then $z_{i,j,1} + z_{i,j,2} = 0 \ \ \forall i,j$


2 Answers 2


How about $z_{i,j,1} + z_{i,j,2} \leq 2 \cdot (1 - z_{i,j,3}) \quad \forall i,j$ ?

For more context, I refer you to this excellent self-answer by user D.W. on CS.SX, which includes a link to a helpful gallery of such common "building blocks", all with practical examples stated in prose.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Oooh -- that is a great answer on CS.SX. On OR.SE, there's this one and this one but the CS one is quite comprehensive. $\endgroup$ Commented May 20, 2020 at 13:08
  • $\begingroup$ For a tighter formulation, see this answer. $\endgroup$
    – RobPratt
    Commented May 20, 2020 at 13:20
  • $\begingroup$ @RobPratt mind to add the tighter formulation as its own answer? As a OR user, I am usually satisfied once my formulation cuts away all undesired integer/binary solutions (and the solver converges quickly enough). $\endgroup$
    – ojdo
    Commented May 20, 2020 at 13:44

For simplicity, I will omit the $i$ and $j$ subscripts. Rewriting your logical proposition in conjunctive normal form somewhat automatically yields two linear constraints: \begin{equation} z_3 \implies (\neg z_1 \land \neg z_2) \\ \neg z_3 \lor (\neg z_1 \land \neg z_2) \\ (\neg z_3 \lor \neg z_1) \land (\neg z_3 \lor \neg z_2) \\ ((1- z_3) + (1- z_1) \ge 1) \land ((1- z_3) + (1- z_2) \ge 1) \\ (z_3 + z_1 \le 1) \land (z_3 + z_2 \le 1) \end{equation} Note that the big-M constraint $$z_1 + z_2 \le 2(1-z_3)$$ is weaker, being an aggregation of the previous two constraints. For example, the big-M constraint does not cut off $z=(3/4,1/4,1/2)$.


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