SurCo: Learning Linear Surrogates For Combinatorial Nonlinear Optimization Problems

Optimization problems with nonlinear cost functions and combinatorial constraints appear in many real-world applications but remain challenging to solve efficiently compared to their linear counterparts. To bridge this gap, we propose $\textbf{SurCo}$ that learns linear $\underline{\text{Sur}}$rogate costs which can be used in existing $\underline{\text{Co}}$mbinatorial solvers to output good solutions to the original nonlinear combinatorial optimization problem. The surrogate costs are learned end-to-end with nonlinear loss by differentiating through the linear surrogate solver, combining the flexibility of gradient-based methods with the structure of linear combinatorial optimization. We propose three $\texttt{SurCo}$ variants: $\texttt{SurCo}-\texttt{zero}$ for individual nonlinear problems, $\texttt{SurCo}-\texttt{prior}$ for problem distributions, and $\texttt{SurCo}-\texttt{hybrid}$ to combine both distribution and problem-specific information. We give theoretical intuition motivating $\texttt{SurCo}$, and evaluate it empirically. Experiments show that $\texttt{SurCo}$ finds better solutions faster than state-of-the-art and domain expert approaches in real-world optimization problems such as embedding table sharding, inverse photonic design, and nonlinear route planning.

PDF Abstract
No code implementations yet. Submit your code now


  Add Datasets introduced or used in this paper

Results from the Paper

  Submit results from this paper to get state-of-the-art GitHub badges and help the community compare results to other papers.


No methods listed for this paper. Add relevant methods here