Solving Connected Subgraph Problems in Wildlife Conservation
We investigate mathematical formulations and solution techniques for a variant of the Connected Subgraph Problem. Given a connected graph with costs and profits associated with the nodes, the goal is to find a connected subgraph that contains a subset of distinguished vertices. In this work we focus on the budget-constrained version, where we maximize the total profit of the nodes in the subgraph subject to a budget constraint on the total cost. We propose several mixed-integer formulations for enforcing the subgraph connectivity requirement, which plays a key role in the combinatorial structure of the problem. We show that a new formulation based on subtour elimination constraints is more effective at capturing the combinatorial structure of the problem, providing significant advantages over the previously considered encoding which was based on a single commodity flow. We test our formulations on synthetic instances as well as on real-world instances of an important problem in environmental conservation concerning the design of wildlife corridors. Our encoding results in a much tighter LP relaxation, and more importantly, it results in finding better integer feasible solutions as well as much better upper bounds on the objective (often proving optimality or within less than 1% of optimality), both when considering the synthetic instances as well as the real-world wildlife corridor instances.
KeywordsMaster Problem Wildlife Conservation Steiner Tree Problem Connectivity Constraint Single Commodity
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