Mathematical Programming

, Volume 66, Issue 1, pp 327–349

Solving mixed integer nonlinear programs by outer approximation

  • Roger Fletcher
  • Sven Leyffer

DOI: 10.1007/BF01581153

Cite this article as:
Fletcher, R. & Leyffer, S. Mathematical Programming (1994) 66: 327. doi:10.1007/BF01581153


A wide range of optimization problems arising from engineering applications can be formulated as Mixed Integer NonLinear Programming problems (MINLPs). Duran and Grossmann (1986) suggest an outer approximation scheme for solving a class of MINLPs that are linear in the integer variables by a finite sequence of relaxed MILP master programs and NLP subproblems.

Their idea is generalized by treating nonlinearities in the integer variables directly, which allows a much wider class of problem to be tackled, including the case of pure INLPs. A new and more simple proof of finite termination is given and a rigorous treatment of infeasible NLP subproblems is presented which includes all the common methods for resolving infeasibility in Phase I.

The worst case performance of the outer approximation algorithm is investigated and an example is given for which it visits all integer assignments. This behaviour leads us to include curvature information into the relaxed MILP master problem, giving rise to a new quadratic outer approximation algorithm.

An alternative approach is considered to the difficulties caused by infeasibility in outer approximation, in which exact penalty functions are used to solve the NLP subproblems. It is possible to develop the theory in an elegant way for a large class of nonsmooth MINLPs based on the use of convex composite functions and subdifferentials, although an interpretation for thel1 norm is also given.


Nonlinear integer programming Mixed integer nonlinear programming Decomposition Outer approximation 

Copyright information

© The Mathematical Programming Society, Inc. 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roger Fletcher
    • 1
  • Sven Leyffer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Mathematics and Computer ScienceUniversity of DundeeDundeeScotland, UK