Suppose, we want to locate some given facilities $\left \{ (i,j) \ |\ (i,j) \in \text[{1,\cdots, N}]\right \}$ in a specific area. Each facility has a predefined dimension with a length $l_{i}$ and width $w_{i}$, (they are not necessarily square). The overall dimensions of the area are $L$ and $W$. The objective is to find the best fit shape of the facilities in the area. As far as I know, this problem can be formulated as mixed-integer programming by defining the non-overlap constraints as follows:

\begin{align} &x_i+w_i \le x_j & \text{or} \\ &x_j+w_j \le x_i & \text{or} \\ &y_i+h_i \le y_j & \text{or} \\ &y_j+h_j \le y_i \end{align}

or other formulations like $\text{ABS}$ models in the facility location literature.

The important thing is that to achieve a good feasible solution by the above-mentioned formulations, we should define the facility shape in the fixed orientation as prior, for example horizontal. What I am interested to know is about the orientation of the facility shape and rotation of them by formulation. I was wondering if, how we can change the above formulation to capture the rotation of the facility shape automatically by using mixed-integer programming?

  • $\begingroup$ Do you instead mean $N$ facilities $i\in\{1,\dots,N\}$? $\endgroup$
    – RobPratt
    Apr 23, 2021 at 13:58
  • $\begingroup$ @RobPratt, $i$ and $j$ are the facilities index and belong to set {1, ..., N}. $\endgroup$
    – A.Omidi
    Apr 23, 2021 at 14:11

1 Answer 1


It sounds like you want to pack $N$ rectangles with given dimensions $w_i \times h_i$ in a $W \times H$ rectangle, as discussed here. To allow each rectangle to be rotated 90 degrees (with dimensions $h_i \times w_i$), you can introduce a binary variable $r_i$ to indicate whether to rotate rectangle $i$ or not. Then modify the constraints like this:

\begin{align} &x_i+w_i(1-r_i)+h_i r_i \le x_j & \text{or} \\ &x_j+w_j(1-r_j)+h_j r_j \le x_i & \text{or} \\ &y_i+h_i(1-r_i)+w_i r_i \le y_j & \text{or} \\ &y_j+h_j(1-r_j)+w_j r_j \le y_i \end{align}

  • $\begingroup$ Dear Dr. Pratt, many thanks for your useful answer. It works fine. :) $\endgroup$
    – A.Omidi
    Apr 23, 2021 at 20:40

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