# How to linearize the product of a binary and a continuous variable? [duplicate]

Suppose we have a binary variable $$b \in \{0, 1\}$$ and a continuous (possibly negative) variable $$y \in \mathbb{R}$$. How can we linearize the product $$b \cdot y$$?

• Similar to the case of non-negative $y$, I added this basic OR question since it is allowed to answer your own questions and AFAIK this question was still missing.
– joni
Apr 11 at 7:24

Suppose we know an upper bound $$M$$ for $$y$$ such that $$|y| \leq M$$, we can linearize this constraint as follows. First, we introduce a new variable $$h \in \mathbb{R}$$ with $$h = b y$$. Then we need to model that $$h$$ equals $$y$$ if $$b = 1$$ and equals $$0$$ if $$b = 0$$. For this purpose we add the following linear constraints:
\begin{align} h &\leq b M \tag{1} \\ h &\geq -b M \tag{2} \\ h &\leq y + (1-b)M \tag{3} \\ h &\geq y - (1-b)M \tag{4} \end{align}
If $$b=1$$ the constraints (1) and (2) are fulfilled while (3) and (4) enforce $$h = y$$. If $$b=0$$ the constraints (3) and (4) are fulfilled while (1) and (2) enforce $$h=0$$.
• As long as you are generalizing, maybe it would be better to assume $L\le y \le U$. Apr 11 at 13:58