Questions tagged [modeling]

For questions related to the process of converting a real-world problem into a mathematical model. Can include questions related to linearization, logical constraints, tightness of formulations, and so on.

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How to determine the correct level of detail when modelling?

"All models are wrong, but some are useful" - George E. P. Box I usually work on what one could call operational problems. There I usually do not have too much trouble figuring out the level of ...
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Modeling floor function exactly

Suppose we want to enforce a constraint $$y=\lfloor{x}\rfloor$$ where $x$ is some continuous variable. One option is to use $$x-1\leq{y}\leq{x},\quad y\in\mathbb{Z},$$ which fails on the edge case ...
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The rationale to improve MTZ?

Currently I need to solve a quite specific problem involving symmetric TSP as a sub-problem (i.e., a Hamiltonian cycle is a necessary condition for optimizing some problem-specific variables that ...
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Examples of machine learning applied to operations research?

Can someone give me a few examples, if they exist, of problems in operations research that could be solved using machine learning. I am aware that machine learning examples are data-driven and do not ...
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How to determine if a given problem seems to be a good fit to be solved using combinatorial Benders decomposition

Combinatorial Benders decomposition is a mathematical programming technique consisting into dividing a problem into a master problem and a sub problem. The master problem is solved to optimality (or ...
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Combinatorial problem in my daughter’s class

In Denmark, a rather substantial amount of work and effort has gone into reducing bullying in the Danish public schools. Many initiatives, which purposes are to strengthen the unity and solidarity in ...
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How can I best handle symmetries in my MIP?

When dealing with mixed-integer-programs with many symmetric solutions it can take very long until the branch-and-bound-tree search is finished because symmetric optimal solutions cannot be pruned. ...
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Validation and verification of mathematical models

Within the subject of simulation I have found some literature on validation and verification (e.g. Sargent's paper). My question is, what techniques do you use to validate and verify your mathematical ...
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Tightness of an LP relaxation without using objective function

How can we measure the tightness of a linear programming relaxation for a mixed integer linear program without using the objective value? I would like to get a measure in terms of the feasible set and ...
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Infeasibility in mathematical optimization models

Sometimes, when solving mathematical optimization models (especially MIPs), they may be infeasible. Is there any comprehensive method to deal with the infeasibility conditions? (especially in complex ...
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Mathematically creating the 'perfect' permutation for reservations in a hostel

I am working at a hostel which uses a reservation system for each room and the beds in the room (e.g. $14$ beds in one room, bed numbers $1-14$.) When we get bookings for multiple people, we assign ...
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Presolve is cutting down a lot of binary variables. Should I rethink my formulation?

I built my model on Python and am passing it to Gurobi to solve the problem. The presolve phase of Gurobi cuts down ~80% of the integer/binary variables and I am wondering if I should rethink my ...
463 views

As an Operations Research professional, how is your time divided when working on an optimization project?

When working on an optimization project, what is the typical time division (in percentage) between the various tasks that you have to work on: Problem understanding/definition (figuring out what is ...
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What is a "hard problem" in the context of Mixed-integer programming?

As a practical (real-world problems) point of view, it's important we could solve optimization problems as quickly as possible (for instance, to release a daily schedule). Maybe a problem with many ...
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Bin Packing with Relational Penalization

There are $N$ bins with equal capacity $C$. In addition, there are $N$ objects $x_1, x_2, \dots, x_N$ that need to be accommodated using the least amount of bins. Each object $x_i$ has a volume ...
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Best model for precedence constraints within scheduling problem

Suppose I'm modeling a problem where I want to compute the start time bucket for some jobs. All time buckets have equal duration. There are some additional constraints involved but I also have to ...
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Soft constraints and hard constraints

The terms "soft constraints" and "hard constraints" are used in the context of optimization modeling. Is there any standard way to figure out which is which in some of the complicated models?
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Column generation for TSP

For teaching purposes, I would like to solve the Travelling Salesman Problem with a column generation approach. In the academic literature, an approach is proposed (for example here), where columns ...
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How to choose between high number of binary variables or fewer number of integer (not only 0 and 1) variables in a IP formulation?

When I have to write the formulation of an IP, I usually have the choice between writing $i\times j$ binary variables with two indices such as $x_{i,j}$ or, writing $j$ integer variables $x_i$. Is ...
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Comparison of Algebraic modelling languages and general programming languages

Some optimization software/frameworks (commercial or open-source) such as AMPL, GAMS, Cplex, ... have a specific Algebraic modelling language. Some of them have another type of programming that uses ...
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Where can I find documentation on good practices for efficient formulations of a problem?

I am sort of new to mathematical optimization and have to build some fairly complicated models for my thesis. I was wondering where I could find literature to help me develop more efficient versions ...
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Is there a SQL/English like language that lets you define formulations given some data?

It would be very useful for beginning and non technical users to be able to define models in a way that was natural for them. Further this could perhaps assist generating some kind of generic ...
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How to formulate: each pair of elements in $A$ has one common unit in $B$

We have two sets, $A$ and $B$. Some elements of $A$ must be connected to some elements of $B$, but no element of a given set is connected to another element of the same set. (Think of a bipartite ...
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How could we simplify solving the large scale MIPs without using any advanced methods like decompositions?

Many practical optimization models (specially MIPs) are NP-Hard and solving them need much time even with the modern solvers like CPLEX or GUROBI. One of the best way (but not easy) is using ...
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Connectivity of two nodes in an arbitrary undirected graph

Is there an efficient way to model the connectivity of two nodes in an arbitrary undirected graph? I would like to have a binary variable representing this connectivity: 1 if there exists a path ...
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On using correct notation in research papers

This question is about using correct notation while writing a research paper. Say I have a directed graph $G$, partitioned into $T$ layers. Denote the set of nodes in layer $t$ by $V_t$. Suppose, I ...
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Modeling the Choose function

In statistics, one often encounters the choose function ${x \choose y}$ which encodes the number of ways of choosing $y$ items from a set of $x$ items. How would one go about modeling a choose ...
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I've formulated my optimization model; now what?

I've formulated my linear/nonlinear/integer/mixed-integer optimization problem in algebraic form (possibly with the help of the folks on this site). Now what? How do I solve it?
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Expressing a chain of boolean ORs using ILP involving different variables

How can I express a chain of OR operations in an ILP, given that each operand is an inequality between two binary variables? I have asked a similar question here: Chain of Boolean ORs. In that ...
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partitioning hub assignment models

When solving large-scale hub assignment models (1000+ candidate hubs and 1000+ demand nodes), it is possible that parts of a cost matrix are not connected to one another. A typical workflow would be: ...
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The specific optimization problem I'm trying to solve is this: Find the minimum integer number of $2$m pieces required to cover $2$ or $4$ distances of length $D$ given that adjacent pieces must have ...