Technical reports

List of technical reports of year 2018

Bigi, Giancarlo and Passacantando, Mauro
Convergence of the fixed point algorithm for quasi-equilibria
September 25, 2018
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An algorithm for solving quasi-equilibrium problems (QEPs) is proposed relying on the sequential inexact resolution of equilibrium problems. First, we reformulate QEP as the fixed point problem of a set-valued map and analyse its Lipschitz continuity under strong monotonicity assumptions. Then, a few classes of QEPs satisfying these assumptions are identified. Finally, we devise an algorithm that computes an inexact solution of an equilibrium problem at each iteration and we prove its global convergence.

Carosi, Samuela and Frangioni, Antonio and Galli, Laura and Girardi, Leopoldo and Vallese, Giuliano
A Matheuristic for Integrated Timetabling and Vehicle Scheduling
August 1, 2018
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Planning a public transportation system is a complex process, which is usually broken down in several phases, performed in sequence. Most often, the trips required to cover a service with the desired frequency (headway) are decided early on, while the vehicles needed to cover these trips are determined at a later stage. This potentially leads to requiring a larger number of vehicles (and, therefore, drivers) that would be possible if the two decisions were performed simultaneously. We propose a multicommodity-flow type model for integrated timetabling and vehicle scheduling. Since the model is large-scale and cannot be solved by off-the-shelf tools with the efficiency required by planners, we propose a diving-type matheuristic approach for the problem. We report on the efficiency and effectiveness of two variants of the proposed approach, differing on how the continuous relaxation of the problem is solved, to tackle real-world instances of bus transport planning problem originating from customers of M.A.I.O.R., a leading company providing services and advanced decision-support systems to public transport authorities and operators. The results show that the approach can be used to aid even experienced planners in either obtaining better solutions, or obtaining them faster and with less effort, or both.

Antonio, Frangioni and Laura, Galli
Optimization Methods: an Applications-Oriented Primer
July 18, 2018
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Effectively sharing resources requires solving complex decision problems. This requires constructing a mathematical model of the underlying system, and then applying appropriate mathematical methods to find an optimal solution of the model, which is ultimately translated into actual decisions. The development of mathematical tools for solving optimization problems dates back to Newton and Leibniz, but it has tremendously accelerated since the advent of digital computers. Today, optimization is an inter-disciplinary subject, lying at the interface between management science, computer science, mathematics and engineering. This chapter offers an introduction to the main theoretical and software tools that are nowadays available to practitioners to solve the kind of optimization problems that are more likely to be encountered in the context of this book. Using, as a case study, a simplified version of the bike sharing problem, we guide the reader through the discussion of modelling and algorithmic issues, concentrating on methods for solving optimization problems to proven optimality.

Antonio, Frangioni
Standard Bundle Methods: Untrusted Models and Duality
June 20, 2018
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We review the basic ideas underlying the vast family of algorithms for nonsmooth convex optimization known as "bundle methods|. In a nutshell, these approaches are based on constructing models of the function, but lack of continuity of first-order information implies that these models cannot be trusted, not even close to an optimum. Therefore, many different forms of stabilization have been proposed to try to avoid being led to areas where the model is so inaccurate as to result in almost useless steps. In the development of these methods, duality arguments are useful, if not outright necessary, to better analyze the behaviour of the algorithms. Also, in many relevant applications the function at hand is itself a dual one, so that duality allows to map back algorithmic concepts and results into a "primal space" where they can be exploited; in turn, structure in that space can be exploited to improve the algorithms' behaviour, e.g. by developing better models. We present an updated picture of the many developments around the basic idea along at least three different axes: form of the stabilization, form of the model, and approximate evaluation of the function.

van Ackooij, Wim and Danti Lopez, Irene and Frangioni, Antonio and Lacalandra, Fabrizio and Tahanan, Milad
Large-scale unit commitment under uncertainty: an updated literature survey
May 10, 2018
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The Unit Commitment problem in energy management aims at finding the optimal production schedule of a set of generation units, while meeting various system-wide constraints. It has always been a large-scale, non-convex, difficult problem, especially in view of the fact that, due to operational requirements, it has to be solved in an unreasonably small time for its size. Recently, growing renewable energy shares have strongly increased the level of uncertainty in the system, making the (ideal) Unit Commitment model a large-scale, non-convex and uncertain (stochastic, robust, chance-constrained) program. We provide a survey of the literature on methods for the Uncertain Unit Commitment problem, in all its variants. We start with a review of the main contributions on solution methods for the deterministic versions of the problem, focussing on those based on mathematical programming techniques that are more relevant for the uncertain versions of the problem. We then present and categorize the approaches to the latter, while providing entry points to the relevant literature on optimization under uncertainty. This is an updated version of the paper "Large-scale Unit Commitment under uncertainty: a literature survey" that appeared in 4OR 13(2), 115--171 (2015); this version has over 170 more citations, most of which appeared in the last three years, proving how fast the literature on uncertain Unit Commitment evolves, and therefore the interest in this subject.

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