, Volume 22, Issue 1-4, pp 233-261

Enhancing RLT relaxations via a new class of semidefinite cuts

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Abstract

In this paper, we propose a mechanism to tighten Reformulation-Linearization Technique (RLT) based relaxations for solving nonconvex programming problems by importing concepts from semidefinite programming (SDP), leading to a new class of semidefinite cutting planes. Given an RLT relaxation, the usual nonnegativity restrictions on the matrix of RLT product variables is replaced by a suitable positive semidefinite constraint. Instead of relying on specific SDP solvers, the positive semidefinite stipulation is re-written to develop a semi-infinite linear programming representation of the problem, and an approach is developed that can be implemented using traditional optimization software. Specifically, the infinite set of constraints is relaxed, and members of this set are generated as needed via a separation routine in polynomial time. In essence, this process yields an RLT relaxation that is augmented with valid inequalities, which are themselves classes of RLT constraints that we call semidefinite cuts. These semidefinite cuts comprise a relaxation of the underlying semidefinite constraint. We illustrate this strategy by applying it to the case of optimizing a nonconvex quadratic objective function over a simplex. The algorithm has been implemented in C++, using CPLEX callable routines, and two types of semidefinite restrictions are explored along with several implementation strategies. Several of the most promising lower bounding strategies have been implemented within a branch-and-bound framework. Computational results indicate that the cutting plane algorithm provides a significant tightening of the lower bound obtained by using RLT alone. Moreover, when used within a branch-and-bound framework, the proposed lower bound significantly reduces the effort required to obtain globally optimal solutions.