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On the Effectiveness of Sequential Linear Programming for the Pooling Problem

Research output: Working paper

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Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 25 Feb 2020


The aim of this paper is to compare the performance of a local solution technique -- namely Sequential Linear Programming (SLP) employing random starting points -- with state-of-the-art global solvers such as Baron and more sophisticated local solvers such as Sequential Quadratic Programming and Interior Point for the pooling problem. These problems can have many local optima, and we present a small example that illustrates how this can occur. We demonstrate that SLP -- usually deemed obsolete since the arrival of fast reliable QP solvers, Interior Point Methods and sophisticated global solvers -- is still the method of choice for an important class of pooling problem when the criterion is the quality of the solution found within a given acceptable time budget. In addition we introduce a new formulation, the qq-formulation, for the case of fixed demands, that exclusively uses proportional variables. We compare the performance of SLP and the global solver Baron on the qq-formulation and other common formulations. While Baron with the qq-formulation generates weaker bounds than with the other formulations tested, for both SLP and Baron the qq-formulation finds the best solutions within a given time budget. The qq-formulation can be strengthened by pq-like cuts in which case the same bounds as for the pq-formulation are obtained. However the associated time penalty due to the additional constraints results in poorer solution quality within the time budget.

    Research areas

  • math.OC, 90C30, G.1.6

ID: 172736617