Local Branching Relaxation Heuristics for Integer Linear Programs

15 Dec 2022  ·  Taoan Huang, Aaron Ferber, Yuandong Tian, Bistra Dilkina, Benoit Steiner ·

Large Neighborhood Search (LNS) is a popular heuristic algorithm for solving combinatorial optimization problems (COP). It starts with an initial solution to the problem and iteratively improves it by searching a large neighborhood around the current best solution. LNS relies on heuristics to select neighborhoods to search in. In this paper, we focus on designing effective and efficient heuristics in LNS for integer linear programs (ILP) since a wide range of COPs can be represented as ILPs. Local Branching (LB) is a heuristic that selects the neighborhood that leads to the largest improvement over the current solution in each iteration of LNS. LB is often slow since it needs to solve an ILP of the same size as input. Our proposed heuristics, LB-RELAX and its variants, use the linear programming relaxation of LB to select neighborhoods. Empirically, LB-RELAX and its variants compute as effective neighborhoods as LB but run faster. They achieve state-of-the-art anytime performance on several ILP benchmarks.

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