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Piecewise Parametric Structure in the Pooling Problem - from Sparse Strongly-Polynomial Solutions to NP-Hardness

Radu Baltean-Lugojan (rb2309***at***imperial.ac.uk)
Ruth Misener (r.misener***at***imperial.ac.uk)

Abstract: The standard pooling problem is a NP-hard sub-class of non-convex quadratically-constrained optimization problems that commonly arises in process systems engineering applications. We take a parametric approach to uncovering topological structure and sparsity of the standard pooling problem in its p-formulation. The structure uncovered in this approach validates Professor Christodoulos A. Floudas' intuition that pooling problems are rooted in piecewise-defined functions. We introduce dominant active topologies to explicitly identify pooling problem sparsity and show that the sparse patterns of active topological structure are associated with a piecewise objective function. Finally, the paper explains the conditions under which sparsity vanishes and where the combinatorial complexity emerges to cross over the P/NP boundary. We formally present the results obtained and their derivations for various specialized pooling problem instances.

Keywords: Standard pooling problem, Global optimization, Piecewise structure, Sparsity, Discretization, P/NP boundary, Strongly-polynomial algorithms

Category 1: Combinatorial Optimization

Category 2: Nonlinear Optimization (Quadratic Programming )

Citation: Working paper.

Download: [PDF]

Entry Submitted: 05/22/2016
Entry Accepted: 05/22/2016
Entry Last Modified: 09/11/2017

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