, Volume 33, Issue 3, pp 243-259

Solving matching problems with linear programming

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In this paper we describe an implementation of a cutting plane algorithm for the perfect matching problem which is based on the simplex method. The algorithm has the following features:

  • -It works on very sparse subgraphs ofK n which are determined heuristically, global optimality is checked using the reduced cost criterion.

  • -Cutting plane recognition is usually accomplished by heuristics. Only if these fail, the Padberg-Rao procedure is invoked to guarantee finite convergence.

  • Our computational study shows that—on the average—very few variables and very few cutting planes suffice to find a globally optimal solution. We could solve this way matching problems on complete graphs with up to 1000 nodes. Moreover, it turned out that our cutting plane algorithm is competitive with the fast combinatorial matching algorithms known to date.